The trees have their say

Posted on March 11, 2012


I suppose it’s possible to take trees for granted, especially when you have whole forests of them. Recently, though, the trees have been in the very forefront of our minds. Even—if we have been unlucky—in the very forefront of our living rooms, twigs, branches and squirrels. We sat up and took notice.

Some of them are armed. Take the beeches. Usually their burrs cling pretty tightly. Last week’s blizzard tore those burrs off the branches and flung them everywhere. They rained down on the deck, skittered across the snowcrust in the woods, and no doubt planted themselves in secret corners where they will leap out and tangle themselves in the Cowboy’s fur.

Up at Bayview witness trees stake out the fields behind the farmhouse Silas B. Anway built in the 1880s. They have seen it all before. They’ll leaf out in the coming weeks as they always do, as they always will, until it’s time to stop.  (Me too.  That’s my plan exactly.)

This next tree, now, I suspect extends all the way to the center of the earth, like Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life. (Yes I am still thinking about Norse myths. I will get over it soon and go on to another obsession, but in the meantime it’s worth mentioning that in Norse mythology fire and ice existed before there was earth – and there were trees before there was earth, too. You don’t want to know too much about these stories. They will keep you up nights.)

One of our favorite walks, the two-track that runs behind the Writing Studio and Bait Shop, is choked with fallen limbs. We clambered over this brushpile once and we aren’t going to do it again. I must get out there with the bowsaw to clear it.

You cannot wander around snuffling after squirrels and photo opportunities. You have to look up.

You have to watch your feet, too. (It doesn’t hurt to investigate the leaf litter for possible treats.)

Great big things are lying in wait to fall on you, or to trip you, depending.

Some of them are hanging by the merest scrap of bark.

You cannot pay too much attention to the trees.