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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Mother Tree

 Our backyard has a steep slope down to the little brook, with a large stand of trees on the slope up to the road after it. The tree stand was marketed to us as 'woods' in the property developer's literature. To be frank, we saw little of the trees during the home construction, and were even less impressed with the view of a bunch of scraggly tree trunks after the home was built and ready to move in.

The trees are quite tall, most of them in the 65-70 ft range, with branches that almost seem to intertwine in a weird dance of  "Here is my space, and there is yours".  Some of the trees have roots partially exposed, even with the many layers of decayed leaves that cover them. There is one tree with gnarled roots, closer to the stream than the rest, with a dark hollow near the bottom. A groundhog makes its home there, and it occasionally toddled out in the spring sunshine to feast on the shrubs near water's edge.

As the trees started to put out their fresh greenery, which first appeared as a thin sprinkling of pale green, we planned a four day trip as a rather unintended vacation, driving many miles away and leaving the new house for the first time in a few months. The old tree still stood, with its branches devoid of leaves, while new life burst into all the taller companions. 

Back after our vacation, a glance out of the window showed us a world transformed: brilliant green leaves on all the trees, while baby green leaves tentatively peeped out on the old tree. The stream's banks were overrun with exuberant green of shrubbery and yellow sprinkles of cinquefoil, an unsightly white storage shed in the neighbor's yard has vanished behind the wall of greenery, as have the crisscrossed trunks of fallen trees that looked depressingly decrepit in the winter dullness.

Mother Tree stands finally putting out her leaves. Now it is her turn to be helped with nourishment from her children around her, even as she had helped sustain them in their infancy and youth.

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More on the concept of  'mother tree', or 'hub tree'

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Brook in the Backyard

We have a brook in the backyard of the new house. Or perhaps, it would be better termed a rill, being too narrow to even qualify as a proper brook. It seems to originate about 50 feet uphill from where our immediate neighbor's property ends, with little natural steps that let the clear water catch the early morning sunlight as it rills over the channel.

A spring source, maybe. The water appears clean enough that a local herd of five does (or perhaps I should call them the Doe Quintet) come by frequently for a sip or two, when the water is no longer muddy from the frequent rains that we have been having this year.

I had thought of adding a birdbath, in order to attract the birds nesting in the nearby trees to a closer vantage point where I could see them, much like in the old house. But considering the proximity of the brook, I feel that might be a useless endeavor. Or maybe not, birds do like to splash in shallow pools rather than running water, even if they prefer to sip their drinks from clear streams. 

Except for the mallard duck pair, which I have seen swimming around in a small section of the brook, where there is a widening. I am hoping that they have nested in the vicinity, and will be treated to Mother duck and her brood sailing around later in the summer.