Sunday, March 04, 2012

Mount Tabor casualty

Yesterday, one of the big Dougs up on Tabor fell over dead.  It was there near the children's playground over by the restrooms where you can get a good look at decapitated St. Helens, weather permitting.

The tree fell some time around nine in the morning.  People were in the playground when it finally succumbed.  It caused quite a stir amongst the on-lookers according to the Parks employee who was limbing the corpse.  "You don't see a hunerd foot tree fall every day," is how he put it.  Thankfully, no one was in the way.

A tree 100 feet tall.  Assuming it grew at 20 inches per year (a reasonable average for a Douglas-fir) the tree lived for 60 years.

But trees die in slow-motion.  Where the trunk had snapped, about three feet from the ground, one could see that insects had been at the heartwood for a while.  The tree had been dead on its feet for a decade or more. 

Tunnels wormed through the rotted wood.  I imagined generations of termites, for whom the world of the dead Douglas-fir was an eternity, a universe entire.  Would the event of the tree's fall be the dimly-recalled cataclysm to haunt future generations of termites? 

On a happier note (perhaps), crocuses, delicate harbingers of springtime, were up and out. They spread wide their petals, like young women welcoming handsome lovers to bed.  In this case, the sunlight, which has grown stronger of late.  In these last days of winter.

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