Tuesday, March 17, 2009
One Intact Tupelo
A lone black tupelo (the smaller trunk) remains ungirdled by beavers
Three balmy days in a row have softened the snowpack. My snowshoes punch through, making a hike exhausting. So I went to Moreau Lake to walk on the beach. The lake normally has a nice sandy beach, very pleasant to walk on. No beach today. Ice all the way up to the woods, and the ice near shore has turned to mush. But about ten feet out it was still firm, so I walked out there. I figured that even if I went through, it was maybe shin deep. Big deal. Wet feet. So what.
I wanted to visit a place on the far shore where a lone black tupelo grows, to see if it had escaped being girdled by beavers. The tree grows in a marshy area that's usually hard to get to, but I thought it would be easy to approach it on ice. And it was. I could see it fine, it's distinctive sloping branches spiked with short twigs. But phragmites obscured the base of its trunk from view. Okay, I thought, I'll just wade through some ankle-deep water there and get up on shore. I headed in and flooomp! Right up to my waist in ice water. Stinky-poo mucky marsh water with icky marsh mud underfoot. I slogged ashore and sat dripping on the sunny bank. Dang! I thought. It's at least a mile to my car. Oh well. At least my camera's okay. There was no one to see, so I stripped to my undies and wrung the water out of my corduroy pants and my polar fleece socks and the felt liners to my rubber boots and warmed myself in the sun. The bank was bare of snow, the oak leaves littering the ground were crispy dry. Mmmm. So nice. And I'm still alive to enjoy it.
The worst part of the whole adventure was pulling those cold wet clothes back on. And the best part (aside from not drowning) was that I found that tupelo trunk unscathed. Hooray!