Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What the wind did

As you may remember, last Wednesday I tried my hand at some prose, and my subject matter was the wind. That piece was inspired, in part, by a large tree that came crashing down on our own property. Well, part of a tree anyway.

As I made my way up the driveway in the dark a week ago, I was forced to stop several times so I could get out and remove large limbs from my path. As I got to the bend in the driveway, I was already wondering about the fate of an Aspen tree that is uphill from our driving path. It has been doing "the lean" for a number of months, and I always imagined that it would be strong winds that would take it down.

The tree fell victim to the winds, as I feared it would. This is pretty much exactly where it landed, right next to the driveway. How courteous of it! Aside from me needing to break off a few stray branches, there was no need to move it in order to proceed down the driveway to the house.

A close-up of the point of fracture

In the dark of night of course I wasn't able to see up into the woods to observe what was left of the tree, but judging by what was on the ground, I figured most of it had been taken down. I mean, this is probably a 15-foot section of tree laying on the ground here.

It wasn't until several days later that I was able to get a good look at what still remained standing.

In the photo at left you can kind of get a sense of "the lean" to this tree that I mentioned earlier. The photo at right attempts to show how much tree is still standing. I would say there's probably 30 feet of trunk still reaching toward the sky. If I would have paid more attention to where the limbs were in relation to the point of the break, I could have easily surmised that only the top portion of the tree came down, because Aspen trees only have branches way up top.

The tree top continues to line the driveway. I'm using it as an excuse to play with the timber tools (i.e. chainsaw!), but I haven't had enough daylight hours with good clear weather to be able to cut it up just yet. Hopefully this weekend, though.

Once I started taking pictures, it didn't take me long to become mesmerized by all the beautiful colors and textures and shapes going on within this tree.

I snagged a chunk of this beautiful bark to add to my growing collection of outdoor items that have become indoor specimens. For further photographic study, you know.

Nature's artistry never ceases to amaze me.

P.S. All of these photos were taken with my new Nikon Coolpix camera. I'm pretty pleased with the results.


Jain said...

How courteous of the Aspen to fall where it did! It looks like the remaining snag will serve bugs and birds for some time to come.

The photos are terrific! Looks like there are many Nikon Coolpix models; which is yours? I'll be in the market for a new camera come springtime.

The Early Birder said...

I bet you are glad you weren't outside when all this was happening! Nature in its rawest form. Now do take care with the chainsaw. FAB.

Meg said...

Luuuv the last picture! Those warm honey tones are delicious. The tree that fell near my drive was not so polite as your aspen...and as I do not know how to work the chainsaw, I was very glad John was home to "cut" me out! Maybe I should take a lesson...

I can't believe that sparrow from the previous post spends so much energy crabbing at the other birds! You should hold a dialogue contest for those bad birdies someday! It might be hard to keep it clean, though : )

Heather said...

Jain - You're right, that snag will be a great haven for lots of different species. As to my Coolpix, it is the L20 model, which is one of the lower-end Coolpix models. I'm not terribly happy with it, but for the price, I guess I can't really complain. It does NOT do well in low light, and is not so great if you're trying to photograph something in motion. But it does take video (which is a plus, for me), and it performs rather well in normal daylight conditions. Overall, I think it would give it about 3 stars (out of 5).

Frank - It was a bit disconcerting to listen to the wind howling from inside, so it would not have been good to be outside when all these limbs were coming down. I feel sorry for the poor birds who have to fly in such winds!

Meg - I like that last photo, too. I especially like that there is a dead Aspen leaf down in the bottom left-hand corner. Kind of ties it all together for me. I'm sorry you got blocked in your driveway! Using a chainsaw isn't too hard - just gotta use some common sense.
You're right about those birds "wasting" energy arguing - but maybe getting all hot under the collar like that helps them to stay warm?! Having a caption contest is in the back of my mind....