The oaks around the house (bur, red and white) have been dropping increasing numbers of acorns over the past several weeks. We've noticed the neighborhood whitetails nibbling at them for a couple of weeks already, at least, that's what I assume they've been eating under the oak trees. Sometimes "early" acorn drop is a sign of stress. Today's StarTribune has a story about the color changes in in some maple leaves and whether it's related to stress. I've been noticing widespread changes in both maples and sumacs. Makes me wonder if there's something to worry about going on that's affecting the oaks, maples and sumacs, or if we're just looking at the affects of the volatility in our Summer weather. Since we have a number of whitetails, turkeys, squirrels and too many chipmunks that feed on local acorns, I hope it's nothing serious.
bur oak, late October
red oak, late October
white oak, late October
Speaking of serious, I'm writing this while waiting for a service advisor at a Subaru dealership. Yesterday, the coolant from my wagon ended up all over the garage floor. I hope it's just a failed hose and nothing more serious. That explains today's abbreviated posting. Don't forget though that there's nothing in the appearance of an acorn to provide a hint of the oak it can grow into.
Today they cut down the oak.Strong men climbed with ropesin the brittle tree.The exhaust of a gasoline sawwas blue in the branches.
The oak had been dead a year.I remember the great sails of its branchesrolling out green, a hundred and twenty feet up,and acorns thick on the lawn.Nine cities of squirrels lived in that tree.
Yet I was happy that it was coming down."Let it come down!" I kept saying to myselfwith a joy that was strange to me.Though the oak was the shade of old summers,I loved the guttural saw.
By night a bare trunk stands up fifteen feetand cords of firewood presson the twiggy frozen grass of the yard.One man works every afternoon for a weekto cut the trunk gradually down.
Bluish stains spread through the woodand make it harder to cut.He says they are the nails of a trapperwho dried his pelts on the oakwhen badgers dug in the lawn.
Near the ground he hacks for two days,knuckles scraping the stiff snow.His chain saw breaks three teeth.He cannot make the trunk smooth. He leavesone night after dark.
Roots stiffen under the groundand the frozen street, coiled around pipes and wires.The stump is a platform of blond woodin the gray winter. It is nearly levelwith the snow that covers the little garden around it.It is a door into the underground of old summers,but if I bend down to it, I am lostin crags and buttes of a harsh landscapethat goes on forever. When snow meltsthe wood darkens into the ground;rain and thawed snow move deeply into the stump,backwards along the disused tunnels.
The edges of the trunk turn black.In the middle there is a pale overlay,like a wash of chalk on darkness.The desert of the winterhas moved inside.I do not step on it now; I am used to it,like a rock, or a bush that does not grow.
There is a sailing shipbeached in the cove of a small islandwhere the warm water is turquoise.The hulk leans over, full of rain and sand,and shore flowers grow from it.Then it is under full sail in the Atlantic,on a blue day, heading for the island.
She has planted sweet alyssumin the holes where the wood was rotten.It grows thick, it bulgeslike flowers contending from a tight vase.Now the stump sinks downward into its rootswith a cargo of rainand white blossoms that last into October.
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.