Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Reclaiming

I walked to a clear cut I know, long abandoned but never replanted with hardwoods like they're supposed to do. It is a wound in an otherwise healthy deciduous forest.

I wondered why, since this had been here for at least a decade or more, the forest had not reclaimed this unassuming field. I remembered the old boat landing, how, once abandoned had been reclaimed quickly, and from one year to the next the road to the water had become impassable, even by foot. Now, when you go by it, unless you knew it was there to begin with, you would never know man had intruded on the forest.

I set out along the tracks of what may have been at one time a logging road, at times rocky and inhospitable to bare feet, at times mossy and cooling. I hear the szzt szzt of grasshoppers and the hop and fly away from my feet like a veritable biblical plague. Dry leafy wild strawberry vines were in abundance, their fruit long gone bye. Then I spotted the first signs of reclamation: tiny fir trees in their infancy, growing in the median.

I journeyed on. I had never been so deep in the clear cut, usually staying within sight of the road. There was a thrill of the unknown. Would I see a deer? A moose with calf? Even a black bear? And unfamiliar sound in the underbrush startled me and I realized I had been too silent, padding on bare feet. I coughed, talked to myself. Got thoroughly grossed out when I walked into multiple spider webs. The plants were getting thicker, lush with wild raspberries. I did not pick them; they were not for me, they were for the robins and juncos and thrushes and sparrows and jays.

The light was changing, that sort of green forest light. I sensed I was near to my goal. I had the prickle of sweat on my scalp; I was far enough in that the wind did not reach me. There it is! In front of me was the point of reclamation, where new forest was unfurling into the grasses, invasive and proud. The forest was healing from the inside out, like a deep puncture wound. I turned to leave. The wound did not need a lingering foreign presence.

Making my way out, I was careful to push the stems of goldenrod and other plants aside, careful not to crush the living. I wanted to make sure everything was exactly as I left it. Closer to the road I heard the detestable sound of a circular saw, cars driving too fast. I did a surreptitious check for ticks. I'm not so concerned with Lyme. I'll check on this healing wound, as time goes, but Nature has shown, she knows very well what she's doing.

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