Sunday, March 06, 2016

Late winter


Of late I've been taking weekend walks in a nearby nature preserve. The most surprising thing about these walks may be the utter stillness of the woods. When one first sets out the traffic noise from a nearby interstate highway is inescapable, but once over the first ridge there is hardly a sound: no squirrels, few birds (and only a handful of other hikers). Though the ground is covered with acorns in extraordinary profusion there is far less evident wildlife here than along the margins of town.

In addition to the oaks, the most evident trees are beeches, black birches, a few hickories, and tulip-trees.

Almost none of this land is old-growth forest. Except in the steepest or marshiest sections there are stone walls in sight almost everywhere, and in one spot, a spillway (which may be more recent; I'm not sure). Farming has moved elsewhere, to less stony ground.

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