Archive for January 3rd, 2016

New year walkabout.

Doesn’t matter what I think,
some bear’s been shredding them.

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Peck and peck. Repeat.
How much wood? You cannot imagine.

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Several layers interlaced living on decay.

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More and more, the moss beats back the grass.
The extent of it is new and puzzling.


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Evergreen mountain laurel leaves are the thermometer of the woods.
At 43°F they look like this; warmer they lift and flatten;
colder they curl, tighter and tighter, into little tubes at zero.

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And here is 25°F, this morning.

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Walkabout in wonderland this afternoon.

Happy New Year!

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Seeing long and short.

I told the pretty little hornbeam, forty years ago,
that little maple sapling will not bother you,
I’ll keep it lifted and away.
There’s room for both, I said.

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The spruce looming at the bottom of the orchard was a seedling then,
its siblings all harvested for Christmas trees,
except one pine also grown too big for Christmas.
They’ve grown up entwined a quarter century since.

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Good year for cones on the high branches.

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The trees are transparent now
to the sky and the ridge across the valley
for half the year a solid mass of green.

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See through down to the branch.

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See right through the unending woods, almost.

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In every quarter see the horizon of ridgetop and sky.

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The leaves will be beautiful when they return.
But we’ll miss the long view through the silver trunks
just as much as we miss their dense green cloak.

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And lay the maple low.

The downhill trunk from a clump of maples
just let go during a storm a couple of weeks ago.

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The fallen trunk stretched almost 70 feet
shattering a lot of the crown.

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But the main body, including the lowest segment
looking like a rotten tooth
had to be chain-sawed into 4-5 foot sections.

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Excellent firewood,
after a spell of curing.

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It was a pretty good long healthy life,
but for the rotten tooth.

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Can’t blame bugs for this one,
this tree was woodpecker-certified bug-free,

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A tree on the ground
passes to other uses
as brush habitat, compost, lumber, stovewood.

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Little bear, bandit in the dark.

The porch light did not bother him,
nor my flashlight, not the camera flash.

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He was on a mission to feed,
having already eaten, it seemed, his entire family
and become fat as a bear cub.

The technique is, to spare himself acrobatics: tilt and spill.

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Tilt a little, spill a little more,

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then dine at ease along the rail.

I slammed the back door, four feet from him,
and he dove over the rail, to hide under the house,
for almost three minutes.

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Centrality of the Nutcracker tree.

Final stage dressing for our Nutcracker tree.
It’s been assembled, lighted, be-ribboned, and be-candy-caned.
The present boxes, filled with many-year-old air,
are set carefully — we try for artfully — around the base.

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If you magnify you can just see
the head of the Nutcracker
peeking up from behind the gingerbread house,
waiting for his reveal and Clara’s delight.

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It’s easier to spot him from the side.

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Ultimately, the curtain rises
and the tree becomes the backdrop for the dances.

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The outrageously inebriated maid
has just begun her wobbly dance.
Scandalized, we are.

Three weeks ago, on the stage of the Diana Wortham Theatre.

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