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Friday, December 31, 2010

Running on Empty

There's a big old pine at the corner of my property, the only survivor of an ancient, original forest.  It is at least 200 years old.  The photo of it above shows only the top of this colossal landscape monument.  With only a few limbs remaining, it towers above all other trees to define the skyline at my end of the lake and can be seen from a great distance.  When I was about 10 years old, I remember a clear autumn day driving out here with Robie Tufts to collect birch bark (fire starter).  We stopped on the road to look at this tree.  Then in his eighties, even he could not remember it looking different from when he first saw it in the early 1900s and noted that despite its inviting branches, eagles that frequently perched on them, had never nested.  The giant bole of the trunk, covered with rough scaled bark shingles, each 3/4's of an inch thick, now weeps sap from pileated woodpecker workings, lightening scars, spikes and axe wounds inflicted long ago and at the base, massive limbs lost to storms lie rotting on the forest floor.  Yet it stands, alone, sculpted by the winds and the hands of time, doubtlessly to prevail long after my ashes mingle with its fallen limbs.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this post! Going for a drive with Robie Tufts! Now that's something most NS birders would love to have done!