50 years, yesterday to an Ent

A resting place for a tired bird, a library for the rest of us.I think I started noticing trees when I lived in Alaska. I wrote a weekly column which my faithful companion, a Bald Eagle named “J Edgar,” delivered from our home in a hollow log to the editor of the community newspaper. Readers were not surprised “The Ol’ Tundra Stomper” (“Tundra Stomping” being Alaskan for “back country hiking”) had an eagle partner.

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No place for no trees

An aging oak stands over its offspring and keeps guard on the creek.I visited my niece in Philadelphia last weekend. Wow! It was cold. A little scattered rain, but it was the wind funneling between the buildings that really cut into the weave of my fleece-lined jacket as we walked the half-mile to the BBQ joint where we ate a late lunch.

We passed a pipe from which steam poured out like fireplace smoke – and froze into an icicle on the grating mounted to keep critters and human fingers from touching the pipe. Continue reading No place for no trees

The trees are warning us

Hidden in the middle of a state forest, trees are cut down to make room for fossil fuel pipelines to warm the planet.Readers of J.R.R. Tolkein are familiar with Ents, those long-talking, slow-walking ancient creatures of Middle Earth. They are among the few beings to have survived to the current age. It seems they eventually took root, owing to their extreme slowness, and became what we know as trees, those flexible, sometimes giant, beings that wave in the wind.

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Stick shadows in the moonlight

The moon the past few nights has been amazingly bright, like a humongous LED spotlight angling down through the trees, casting stick shadows on the grass and across my desk.

A couple hundred yards away, an owl hoots, perhaps celebrating his having found dinner scurrying among the shadows. Bats, as soon as the night air warms toward summer, will cling to the trees by day, to come among the shadows in the evening and feast on bugs that have been feasting on me. Payback is heck, I’ve heard said.

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Birches are meant to be climbed, bent

“I should prefer to have some boy bend them, / As he went out and in …” Birches, by Robert Frost.

Better a boy than an ice storm should bend the birches. A girl could bend them, as well, if a girl is in the house, and requires exploratory forays into a nearby forest. To climb a really tall tree is to gain a sense of accomplishment not available to parents and other adults who are well advised to stick to the lower, thicker branches.

And to have Mom worried that you might fall is to have an opportunity to show her, “No, I won’t.” There is no finer feeling than to tell her you will not fall, and then prove it.

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