Sunday, July 5, 2015
A Hole In The Forest Canopy
On a recent trip to the back woods near the edge of our property, the increased amount of daylight present was the first sensation to register with me. Then I noticed maple leaves overhanging the small clearing where the truck is turned. Bad news quickly followed when the remains of the giant red maple tree came into view. A storm of some significance had felled two of the remaining central trunks.
When we first began walking this land, this giant red maple impressed us. Most of the trees here were comparatively young, growing where attempts to farm poor land were abandoned. Why this tree was never cut remained a mystery. It stood out in sharp contrast to its neighbors because of its unusual size . Six massive side trunks grew from the central vertical trunk. These were huge and I could never understand how the tree was able to support so much mass that grew so far away from the main trunk.
The grown over hole marks the former location of the first side trunk to fall. The main trunk has an indentation there that allowed me to back into the tree under the side trunk. Energy transfer between tree and man is likely fiction but I spent time on every walk up against the tree. My mood was calmer when I left the tree. I felt invisible and a part of nature since I was so far into the tree.
There must have been a thunderous crash when these parts of the tree fell. A sudden snap when the first section separated would have made a terrible sound. The larger upper section fell first. Crashing onto the lower piece, it fell also. It appears that current weather events feature localized storms of unusual intensity. My tree would speak in support of that point of view since it had been here for many generations suffering no harm.
Two of the smaller trunks are all that remain of this former giant. We have no idea of what to do with the fallen parts. There is a great deal of wood near the ground but red maple grows in a twisting manner making its firewood difficult to split. Working among three sections that have yet to find the ground would entail considerable risk. Nature will be allowed to follow its course here and these tree sections will become part of the forest floor. We will watch with interest to see what grows in the former shade of a true giant.