It scattered seventy trees across or into Balsamea’s 2.5 miles of trails. It’s seventy-give-or-take; I lost count a couple of times while stopping to think about how to deal with some of the fallen trees. Thinking never has been a reliably good idea. It often interferes with nobler processes, even vital ones.
The big winds came on Thursday and Friday, October 31 & November 1, 2019. It is the biggest such storm tree impact in Balsamea’s 14.5-year history. Before now, the biggest one was the “717 Storm” of July 17, 2012.
I’ll never forget the way my heart sank into my stomach when I found 33 trees on the trails on July 18, 2012. Working on clearing them and rerouting paths around some of them — never with a chainsaw, which violates Balsamea law — I learned that it was good for me and good for the trails. Often when I addressed a change that Nature threw onto a trail, the result was a better trail or connection to another trail. I’m sure I don’t have to explain why it’s good for me to go work in the woods, for mind and body and whatever else I may be.
My little Cadivus story of September 7, 2018 explains the immersive experience of co-creating trails with Nature. Handy excerpts if you don’t want to read the Cadivus post (I don’t blame you):
Nuala’s Tree is a red maple (Acer rubrum) with four partly intertwining trunks rooted at the edge of a big old pine stump. I dedicated the tree to Nuala in 2009 or earlier. The oldest picture I have is from 2009, below.
June 6, 2009. Viewed from south.
September 13, 2019
The brighter background is because of the logging next door. It changes the habitat of Balsamea forever in several ways. I try not to think about it anymore.
Concordia is a park-like area of about 0.3 acre surrounding Nuala’s Tree. Almost all of the development of Concordia occurred in August-September 2019. Before that, there was just some minor maintenance to keep the tree from being overgrown by pines and balsam firs.
I don’t need to give special attention to a tree for it to have personal meaning, nor need I seek personal meaning in a tree. However, sometimes a tree seeks it in me, like a contemplative interaction probing the soul. That’s Nuala’s Tree. Continue reading →
Hi Folks. National Take a Hike Day is Saturday, November 17, 2018. I invite you to join me in taking this challenge farther than asked by my friends at the American Hiking Society in their article Why Technology Should Take A Hike, beginning with posting this picture on your [whatever kind of] website.
click for full size view
It’s a good article loaded with source-cited research results about:
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. Continue reading →
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.
Several species and forms of Balsamean herald the advent of Spring earlier than all others. They remind us of the unmerited gift of the life we have at Balsamea, and to live it consciously. Continue reading →
When in doubt, have a campfire. It has straightened my bent condition many times.
Yours truly tending a winter campfire at Balsamea in 2005
My favorite passage from the 1908 short story, To Build a Fire by Jack London (1876-1916):
“Working carefully from a small beginning, he soon had a roaring fire, over which he thawed the ice from his face and in the protection of which he ate his biscuits. For the moment the cold of space was outwitted. The dog took satisfaction in the fire, stretching out close enough for warmth and far enough away to escape being singed. When the man was finished, he filled his pipe and took his comfortable time over a smoke. Then he pulled on his mittens, settled the ear flaps of his cap firmly about his ears, and took the creek trail up the left fork.” Continue reading →