Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Crack of Thunder

Fall is fully here with sticky wet leaves spinning their way to the ground between the gray rain drops leaving better and better views through the woods.  It is our first really cold day today, hanging in the high 40's F.  Last night as we sat watching television we heard a large crack like that of thunder or a rifle firing.  The sound seemed to come from across the river.  Hubby is an outdoors-man and said right away that it was the dying oak down by the dock that had finally fallen.  It was this tree's base where I had taken a picture of the Jack-O-Lantern fungus in the prior post.   This oak had started to die within months of our moving into our house, and for some reason, we felt a bit intimidated by that death as if we had caused it in some way.  It had lasted so many years and we wondered if we were we the ones that pushed it over the edge?  It spared the oyster cages which we laid at its feet.



There were the remains of a hunter's stand nailed into the tree...which was perhaps the work that had eventually killed the tree.  We cut away all the dead limbs (widow makers)  that hung over the trail to the dock when we started living here.  Thus when this marvelous behemoth released his/her hold on the earth it fell away from the dock and toward the salt bush at the edge of the river.  It looked so much bigger when pushed to the earth.



A new meal for our resident pileated woodpeckers through this winter.

On a happier note, the last male osprey, Fred, left for warmer weather last week and I missed seeing, while sipping my coffee, his silhouette against the sky each day as he sat on the snag above his nest.  When the sun was out most days I saw the resident blue heron taking possession of the abandoned nest while grooming himself/herself.  (It is a terrible photo...taken in a rush!)


This morning as the gray day broke I saw the silhouette of larger bird on the same tree snag. At first I thought it was a vulture resting.  Then as the light grew brighter I grabbed my binoculars and saw that it was an immature bald eagle waiting for the heaviest rains to diminish or perhaps just waiting in a new place.  I hope he comes often in the months ahead even though they are very shy, but he/she will certainly move to another part of the woods when the osprey returns in the spring.  The arrival of nesting season in the spring will make these two top 'dogs' dangerous enemies.


12 comments:

ellen abbott said...

it's sad when a mature tree goes down. We have three large pecan trees in our back yard and one of them lost three large branches over the summer. and another one lost a smaller (but still big) branch just last week. a result of the last three dry summers I guess. love the blue heron. we have a red shouldered hawk that comes to drink and bathe in the natural water filter for the small water lily pond and then he perches on the gate right next to it to dry off. his eyesight is so keen, it's hard for me to get a picture from even inside the house. he sees movement and off he goes.

Brian Miller said...

wow that is a good size tree...def have the sadness that comes in losing a tree that has been around a while....we lost a pretty good size one this time last year...def childhood memories attached to it...

Celia said...

The passing of a giant, it is sad. Glad that it fell on no one. We have herons downriver here parking in the tall trees overhanging the river. Not sure if they are coming or going.

Joanne Noragon said...

Hard to lose an old friend. We are losing an elm. All the "widow makers" have fallen into the ravine; the tree is a stark pole into the sky.

messymimi said...

That's a big reminder of our own mortality.

kenju said...

I really hate to see a big old giant tree fall. It reminds me how vulnerable we all are, especially as we get older.

Jenny Woolf said...

I think the best way to think about the tree is that it is part of nature, isn't it and many creatures need it to come to an end. Hopefully it has created some saplings.

Kat said...

Aww. That's sad. I love big, old trees. Sad to see them go.

Red said...

There are always fascinating things happening out doors. You tell a good story.

Linda Reeder said...

That tree had a lot of history. And now it will feed the soil and serve a new generation of growth. Cycles, just like your bird population.
I love how you tell about your natural surroundings.

Granny Annie said...

This post truly moved me. You expressed the life and death of this tree so well. Sad that nails had been hammered into the trunk but happy that it will now nourish the earth and wildlife.

If your moving there contributed to its demise that would only be because the tree knew you were protectors of nature and it would now be okay to lay down.

What's the story in Dalamory said...

I love the lives of trees, and even when they die they linger on for a long while.