Photo by P. Gerrie
It’s early May, or so they say,
The wind and rain’s like autumn.
The cherry tree sets blossoms free
That cover all the bottom.
The grass was green, but as you’ve seen
It looks like snow has fallen
The petals pink are fine, I think,
They tell me spring is calling.
I’ve decided this is a better location, Martha. Even the exterior is more interesting with its designer bark siding.
You go ahead up there, Nathan. I’m going to check out this one at the lower level. Less of a target, maybe? And the chipping is easy. Look at me! I’m almost halfway in already.
What if Martha’s right? I’m kind of conspicuous up here. Besides I’m wondering if I’m getting too close to the inside of that crater on top.
How ‘re ya comin’ along down there, Martha?
Eeeeuuuw! What is THAT in there? If it moves, I’ll eat it.
Oh … ah … er … fine, Nathan …
but I seem to have come up against a gnarly knot in this hole.
Sheesh! Just look at ‘er. She’s halfway through to the other side. Maybe that gnarly knot will slow her down and put me back in the running.
Now let’s see. Where was I going with this fibre? Mustn’t let on to Martha, but was I going to put that fibre in the nest or did I just chip it out of there? Is this how it sneaks up on you? Forgetting things?
Nathan, what’s wrong with you? Put that fibre into the nest already. Dithering around like you don’t know if you’re coming or going? Unless you’ve decided on my nest after all?
Oh, this is too frustrating. I need a break. Up this tree looks like a good place to get away for a while.
Nayyyyyy-thannnnn! See me up here? Catch me if you can!
Here I am.
Just to the right of the trunk. If you can find me, I’ll help you with the building again….
Look at Nathan! Isn’t he just so cute, but I have to play hard to get or he’ll take off after Mitzi. She’s been mooning around Nathan, especially the other night when the moon was full. C’mon, Nathan. Up here, in the tree. Come and find me.
Martha or Mitzi,
So itsy and bitsy,
They’re both after me
As I chip on this tree.
Martha is strong,
And with her I belong,
But I’ll let her dangle
Until I finagle
A way to find love with them both.
After showing you so many burnt trees in a recent post, I thought I should show the positive side of things too.
Driving past these trees, a blur of yellow and a smattering of snow in the firs reminded me that autumn was nearly finished. It was just a matter of days before the poplar (?) leaves came down.
In the higher elevations, wind, weather, and possibly some road work crew meant the dormancy or death of some trees.
Some of the white-barked trees were clinging to the last leaves. Birch, poplars, aspen? I’m not sure, but these are all trees with whitish bark.
Back in Montana, this stand of trees reminded me of when I’ve spilled the pack of lettuce seeds and a whole clump of them grew in a bunch, crowding each other so none can do well. It also looks like a football team in a huddle.
The horses don’t mind it. The thick stand of trees probably acts as a good windbreak.
In southern BC, along the Hope-Princeton Highway, a tree has taken the shape of a bear – a grizzly by the look of his dished skull and the hump on his back. I believe the park was closed when we drove by (in October), but it would be a wonderful place to hike (if you aren’t afraid of bears … which I am).
On our recent trip to Montana we saw nature at its fiercest; from fog to blizzards, rain and snow, to evidence of raging wildfires.
This region of eastern Washington is normally fairly dry, but a recent fire made it even drier. It may have been last year or longer ago that the fire went through here because the grass has had a chance to grow back.
A lucky few trees were left untouched by the fire. The rest were probably torches until their fuel burnt out.
Here is Mr. Lonely Pine, wondering where his friends have gone. Why, and how, was he spared?
What will happen to these acres of charred logs? It must take many years for them to fulfil the “ashes to ashes” ritual.
And someday the forest will regenerate and once again host insects, rodents, birds, reptiles, and small mammals (and a few big ones like these cattle).
But see how dry and long the grass is. The highway passes close by here. Be aware if you’re a smoker, and don’t toss out your cigarette butt, no matter how sure you are that it’s out.
They’ve named me Mr. Lonely Pine
And they are not so wrong,
I pine away and sometimes whine
If wind blows all day long.
I’m one of few surviving trees
Untouched by raging fire,
You should have seen it when the breeze
Whipped flames up even higher.
I stood in terror, trembling,
Of course I could not run,
So I began dissembling,
And twiddling my thumbs.
I squeezed my eyes shut, every branch
Was shivering in fright,
Next thing I knew, upon the ranch
The blaze burnt out that night.
And still alive I praised the gods
That spared me yet a while,
I wondered how I’d beat the odds,
I couldn’t help but smile.
I whispered like a pine must do
To coax the baby trees,
And soon they sprouted and they grew,
And now they’ve reached my knees.
I’m not so lonely anymore
These young ones chat with me,
And contrary to old folklore,
I talk, though I’m a tree.
I want to warn you if you drive,
A cigarette can kill,
To throw it out while it’s alive
Can burn the whole dang hill.
So let’s all take a bit of care
Bad endings you have seen,
If you are handling fire, beware
To keep our forests green.
It’s only October, but this farm scene would make a perfect Christmas card.
The shrubs in the distance have a frosting on them that is making the little ground squirrels living under them shiver.
Here is plenty of fuel to keep someone warm – someone far away, wherever this train is going.
The clumps of sagebrush and other grasses have been coated by winter’s frosty breath, giving them a designer look.
Did you ever mix up powdered laundry soap and water with an egg-beater and then dab the “snow” you made onto your Christmas tree? Then the decorations would be hung once the soapy snow had dried. These trees reminded me of doing that as a child. (I apologize for mentioning Christmas so early.)
The wintery air brings out the elves
They wait for dark or fog
So they can better hide themselves
Behind a nearby log.
The head elf orders laundry soap
The powdered kind is best
They spit in it and then they hope
That this will pass the test.
The soapy snow must be so thick
That it won’t dribble down
It must be right so it will stick
And give the tree its gown.
With sagey brush, like tiny brooms
They paint each branch with snow
The night is short, a new day looms
And all the elves must go.
If I’d been passing by last night
I’m sure I would have seen
But I’d have given them a fright
And I can’t be that mean.
And so I’ll just admire their trees
That look so pure and white
The elves are happy when they please
And know they’ve done it right.
I went to the wharf to make sure the boat had weathered the weather. It is tougher than I am, withstanding the first system of wind and rain that marks the end of this summer.
On the way home I took a small detour to dash out onto the beach for a photo. After many wipes of the lens I got a couple of wettish pics to show what kind of day it is.
Thoroughly dampened, I drove home, but couldn’t resist taking a picture of this very old house on the way. Too bad the upper windows and the skylight are a modern style. They don’t quite go with the rockwork, but it’s still a unique house. Not just the huge chimneys, but even the walls are made of rock.
As I pulled into my own driveway a few minutes later, I saw a pretty, bittersweet sight — a maple leaf landed on my car, marking the end of summer and proving once again that, contrary to the old Canadian motto, the maple leaf is not forever.
But it will come again in the spring.