Carpe Diem: Cedar Tree Neck II

Part the Second.

Chilled, we left the Cedar Tree Neck beach for the less-windy woods.

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A sassafrass tree, bent and split by a northeast wind, has fallen over the trail.

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With its shadow, it makes an ovoid entry portal into the woods beyond.

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Our fall storms have broken many trees. As trees age, they can weaken. Rot may enter through a branch stub. Carpenter ants may make a home inside the trunk. The ants are capable of making extensive galleries inside a tree, leaving sound only the outer edge of the bole. The wind seeks out weakness, and in storm, topples trunks and rends branches.

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The clear arctic air lets the sun shine in.

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Put your head next to a beech tree and look up. The smooth gray bark feels wonderful under the hand. It feels wonderful under the foot, too. One of of my favorite things as a child was to climb a beech, barefoot.

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At the top of the hill, a stand of red pines has died. The pines were planted by the former owner of the property. Red pines are from further north, and in their proper range grow well and strongly. Here on the Island, our “heat” stresses and weakens them. Bark beetles move in, and the trees die.

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Look carefully, in in the center of this group of dead pines you will see a young oak that was able to push its way up while the pines were still living. Now that the pines are gone, this oak has a chance to thrive in some sun.

We head home along a morainal ridge. Our shadows are long in the winter sun.

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A good time was had by all.

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