Short Mountain

Hearing there were old trees there, last Saturday my hiking buddy and I went over to Short Mountain – a place I can see from the ridge above my house. It’s time for a closer look, I thought. Together we saw far more than we would’ve seen alone. I am indebted to L. especially for drawing my attention to the stump in the second photo and the pool in the last one.

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In the last week of January, white rocks half-hidden by the green of lichens.

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The side of the tree that faced the weather still raises iron fingers to the breeze.

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Where it ground against another rock during the last ice age, the ridgetop boulder still burns.

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In the exposed end of a limb ripped down by last January’s ice storm, a complete record of the tree’s efforts to hold on to it.

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At the base of a large white oak, a monstrous burl. Inside, maybe a twist of limbs; another, darker sky; the shadows of birds.

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Right where we join the trail, a black birch’s spreading bark splits the bright orange blaze in two. Which way should we go?

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Behind the leaf dam, slow lines of foam crossed by a single leaf. The mountain stream turns still, no sound of water.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

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