Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fallen Tree

I am in the woods with the goats near the newly fallen sweetgum tree.  The tree is about seventy feet long without any branches in its first forty feet. it broke about fifteen feet from the roots and fell between the branches of another tree.  It goes for quite awhile before the trunk of the tree dips and touches the ground.

The tree fell on a quiet night which followed several days of rain. The rain deprivation has weakened and killed quite a few trees on our property. This tree had a flaw in its trunk, was top heavy and rain soaked with the bottom of the tree leaning one way and the top another.
It was growing beside a creek and a ravine and all of its massive root system has been exposed for years and yet that part of the tree still stands.
Carl C and I heard it fall during the night and the next day the goats and I went on expedition to find it. It didn't take long.

The goats love these leaves which are ordinarily so far from their reach. I've been bringing them to browse here for almost a week. 

I awoke this morning with thank you on my lips. Thank you for my husband, our sons, daughter-in-laws, grandchildren. Thank you for my mother, for goats, chickens, dogs and cats. Thank you for our land, for friends and relatives. Thank you for beautiful days and peaceful nights.

Artemis nuzzles and nibbles me and butts my shepherds hook. Her nervous energy is connected with the dogs' high spirits. I pull a dogwood branch down for her pleasure. She attacks the branch with a nervous intensity. 

The dogs sit close and attentively. Mosquitoes  and the attentions of Artie chase me from me from my post by a delicious oak limb. I move to the far end of the fallen sweetgum tree and a bit farther up the slope. 

The further from the creek, the less buzzing insects. With a woodpecker setting up a loud chatter, Artemis moves down to the sweetgum.
This fallen tree's life is celebrated in the quiet gratitude I feel in its presence. 


  1. Thank you for this prose poem with photos, dear citizen journalist. Are these pics another reason for wanting an iPhone? My Palm Pre doesn't shoot this quality, and I don't always have camera with me.

  2. Only the photo of the dogs came from my Iphone. The others were shot with my canon powershoot. I specifically went down and took extensive photos so I could show Carl what it looked like, which tree it was, why, etc. I miss being able to walk in the woods with him to see the sights, but I bring them back to him.