About The Balsamean

Resident of Balsamea, my little forest refuge named for its most abundant tree, in the Adirondack Mountains. See TheBalsamean.com

Snow Falling from Trees Awakens

560 words, 18-sec. video, 2 photos

After half a foot of sticky, soggy snowfall overnight, today the temperature at Balsamea rose well above freezing.  Along our trails, rapidly thawing snow showered from the trees everywhere in these dense woods, especially from the pines and firs, those bearers of great snow-loads.

Click pix for full size images

It fell in droplets, spoonfuls, cupfuls, bucketfuls and barrowfuls. The still, windless air said nothing while each of these sizes played their particular sounds, all around me patting, drumming, shushing and thumping their way through tree limbs, branches, twigs and evergreen boughs, then concluding each phrase with a strike on the snow on the ground.  They formed an unusual percussive symphony unique to this particular circumstance, in a special variation playing upon atypical conditions in the fresh snow cover.

When or where can you hear nature using trees and snow as instruments to drench the still air in sound this way, with a variety of visual effects, too?  When do you get to sit in the middle of the orchestra as it plays?  It filled the air within a great dome surrounding me, simultaneously at every volume possible to my ears.  Some notes played a few feet from me, ranging out to ones played barely within hearing.  Some struck funny notes on my ball cap and shoulders.
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my dkhometree blog

Visit my other blog, dkhometree.com

dkhometree-bookshelf-header-770pxSense of online self

I call it dkhometree because I’m D.K. (Dennis Koenig) and this is my home tree on the web, from which you can browse the rest of my webwoods.  It’s a personal blog with no mission; just a place to share some things with friends, wanna-be friends, and curious followers.

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Oak Tree Trilogy Part 3 – Buddy’s Oak and Dad’s Question

A Balsamean of the bug tribe

A Balsamean of the bug tribe

Trees get so much attention in this drifting journal, The Balsamean, because they are easier to write about than people are, and trees often make better friends than most people do, and the tree fairies would sprout leaves green with envy in the middle of winter if I gave as much time to humanity as to them.

This is another long post, about 3,000 words, but it has lots of pictures, one of my favorite poems (a famous classic), and a piece of original art by The Balsamean.

It took a year to write this.  It’s not that I took a year to start it.  I worked on it dozens of times beginning last September.  The earlier versions were close to 6,000 words, and told too many stories that deserve articles of their own.

If not for too many long sentences, this would be an easy read.  But my readers are sharp.  And it’s especially readable if you just take a seat, slow down and act like the world moves at the speed it should, not the one it does.

Don’t read it in a hurry.  It took a year to get here.
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Fall Favorite Fifty at Five Hundred

Here are 50 of my favorite autumn color photos taken at Balsamea, at 500 pixels wide (or tall). If you’ve followed this blog a long time, you’ve seen these before. However, most of them managed to disappear from the blog, so, for the record, here they are again.

Click on a picture to open its own page where you can post comments on it.

OR, click any of the pictures in the series (after this first one) to switch to gallery/carousel mode where you can step through them like a slide show and comment right there on any picture.  They look nicer there because they are not bunched up so tightly as seen here.

Or just say stuff in the comments box at the bottom of this post, if you ever get there.  Or email me for all those delish things you always love saying to me privately.

Fall Color-33-20120928 fall color 22-500px

The Balsamaple Tree

Any questions?  Please post them!

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Oak Tree Trilogy Part 2 – Defiant Oak

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Defiant Oak’s happy autumn leaves, October 2013.

Oaks against the sky,
Ramparts of leaves high-hurled,
Staunch to stand and defy
All the winds of the world;
Stalwart and proud and free,
Firing the man in me
To try and again to try –
Oaks against the sky.

– Excerpt from Trees Against The Sky,
Poem by Robert William Service

It’s not a good idea to fall in love with a guy whose favorite book is the dictionary.  This thought occurred to me today when I perused my 1995 10th Edition of Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, which I would prefer over using the Internet to look up words, but my eyes can’t take it.

I felt something like comedic irony when I saw her inscription to me in this dictionary, my Good Book, a gift on the third anniversary of our first date.

That relationship brought me to the brink of swearing off women forever.  After dalliances since then, I’m now so selective, it’s as good as having sworn off them.  I won’t deny the possibility of someone coming along to inspire a romance that makes people dismissive of Tristan and Isolde, or that inspires me to write an eternally classic novel about civil war, bells tolling, and earth-moving sex.  (Hemingway, you delightful madman.)  Still, she won’t lure me away from Balsamea, or get me to abandon my little Defiant Oak tree.

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Oak Tree Trilogy Part 1 – Sentinel Oak

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Sentinel Oak with The Balsamean’s head in the lower branches to be removed soon. Remove the branches, not the head.

In 2005, the birth year of Balsamea, my father asked if there were any oak trees on the property.  I had not seen them.  Over time, I learned that there were many red oaks.  They are one of our minority trees, but the mature ones number about one per acre, and there are dozens of seedlings and saplings.  We would have many more oaks, were it not for the deer munching on their buds every winter.  I have seen them kill a 3-foot healthy oak in two seasons.

On that day in May 2005 when I closed on the property purchase, I immediately installed a cable gate across the entrance.  Dumpers had abused the property, a practice that ended that day, and became a considerable process of remediation for me.  Still I find things resurfacing from below ground.

While opening space for access to the right trees to attach the cable, I noticed two little red oaks about two feet tall each.  One was in excellent condition.  The other was crushed under a fallen gray birch.  I left the latter alone to grow in its own way, and it has done well.  The former, I nursed and lightly pruned over the years, to encourage a nice geometric shape.

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Thank you, Buddy

While close-up face to face with him and looking at each other’s eyes, Buddy slipped instantly from fully conscious into unconscious perfect peace, and then within a couple of minutes (tough guy – he needed a second dose) into irreversible, eternal oblivion at 9:06 AM today, August 5, 2015, eight years since he adopted me in August 2007.  He was about 9 years old, date of birth unknown.  He adopted me as a stray.  The last words he heard, repeatedly, were, “You’re a good Buddy.”  Nothing is more true.  Thanks, all, for your caring support.  I know that some of you have been really “there” for us, and continue so.  It counts.  It matters.
.Buddy-13

Thank you, Buddy.

I’m going for a walk now, as you would have
me do now and at least three times every day.

——————————–

Buddy, Prince of Balsamea to Die 8/5/2015

Buddy 20150801-SS0On Wednesday, August 5, 2015, The Balsamean will euthanize Buddy, Prince of Balsamea.

He chose Wednesday because there is a cord binding our hearts as three, and the third person will say goodbye to Buddy on Tuesday.  The cord has an existential role in Balsamea and its inhabitants’ relationships with each other and the world.  It has been a lifeline keeping me out of the hospital and morgue.  On countless occasions, the cord has heightened Balsamea to a state of being that banished impossibility. Continue reading

On Loving and the Seizure of a Balsamean

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Buddy, Prince of Balsamea

Balsamea’s new veterinarian, Dr. Nick Sherman summed up the change when he said of Buddy, Prince of Balsamea, “He’s a seizure dog now.”  That was the night he gave me a supply of phenobarbital, because Buddy had four general (i.e., “grand mal” or full-body) seizures in one day, February 10, 2015.

So he’s “a seizure dog” now, but he retains his royalty, and reigns here as ever.

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Good Again and Again

Human minds cling to negatives more than positives.  This helps us prepare for the next time a negative comes around, and lets us experience a positive anew again, unprepared for the pleasure.

Every year I marvel as in childhood, uplifted a little out of myself, as if it were my first time walking in the woods at night during the first accumulating snow of the season.