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.
In the last week of January, white rocks half-hidden by the green of lichens.
The side of the tree that faced the weather still raises iron fingers to the breeze.
Where it ground against another rock during the last ice age, the ridgetop boulder still burns.
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.
At the base of a large white oak, a monstrous burl. Inside, maybe a twist of limbs; another, darker sky; the shadows of birds.
Right where we join the trail, a black birch’s spreading bark splits the bright orange blaze in two. Which way should we go?
Behind the leaf dam, slow lines of foam crossed by a single leaf. The mountain stream turns still, no sound of water.