Thursday, December 11, 2014

Goodbye to friends

Yesterday, the dogs and I went out in a cool drizzle.  Two days ago, it was pouring cats and dogs, and we were indoor all day so we needed to get out.  We went out to one of my favorite spots, a pine groove that has a vernal pool.  It was a very nice walk with the rain making music on the newly filled pool. The drips were falling in big drops off the trees and it actually sounded like a bird or frog chirping.  I stood for a few minutes trying to figure out what was making the sound and then several more enjoying them.

Can you find Cici?  That's how big the tree was!

On the way home, I found that one of my landmarks, an old oak, was down!  I don't know when exactly the giant fell, but it was within the last month.  It wasn't cut, but looks like it finally lost it's balance as one side was rotten and it had already lost a tree sized limb some time ago.  I have often used that limb as a park bench in my woodland walkabouts.  The tree smashed several smaller trees, one a fairly large birch.  I think the white oak was at least 60 ft tall and 4 ft in diameter.  It would have been incredible to see the impact of its fall.  I think it is interesting to see the natural death of this 200+ year old tree.  Many trees do not reach such size and age, but succumb to insects, fungus blights, animals foraging, and the chainsaw.  I feel thankful to have been able to see the end of the long life cycle of the tree.  Not that I wanted the tree to fall, but that I got to see acorns, seedlings, small trees, mature specimens, and the end of such a wonderful type of tree, the White Oak.  The White Oak is Connecticut's state tree and a principle species in the New England woodlands, and this one was my woodland friend.

Tree standing with branch down in front last winter
(I know its not the best photo, I did say I have a hard time
photographing trees just a few posts ago.)
Cici and Silly on the limb last winter.

The trunk of the downed tree.
Where's the dog this time.

It is also interesting that my discovery of the tree's end coincides with mine and Jacob's last week in New England.  We are moving down to Virginia where we will live with family for a time as we figure out where to go from there.  We have enjoyed living in the woodlands of eastern Connecticut, but Jacob has learned that academia is not the career route that he wants.  So one chapter ends, another opens, and I am excited to see what fun (without the stress of academics) comes our way.  I will continue to blog about nature, environmental education, art, and other fun things that come my way.

As we head down south, we are thankful for the past year in New England with it's seasons, creatures great and small, and of course the trees!   I am thankful for the Connecticut Audubon with Sarah, Mrs Fish, Paula, Patty, and all the kids who I got to play -I mean work- with.  I am thankful for Mr. and Mrs. Bolduc our friends and landlords and the home we enjoyed.  Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Russ, and Mr. Church for allowing me to explore their properties.  I am thankful for everyone at Chaplin Elementary who were very kind as I substitute taught through much of the year.  Thanks to Emma and Goodwin Friends at Goodwin State Forest for letting me teach some programs before finding regular work at Connecticut Audubon.  Thank you for a wonderful year, and if you're down in Virginia, give me a shout!

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