The Edge of the Wood

by John Messeder, Nemophilist & Ecological Storyteller

Tag: dreams

Giving thanks, and thinking ahead

Life, like this photographic glimpse, is a bit blurry during the holidaysEach year about this time, I take a few minutes to remind myself of the sorts of things for which I’m thankful. On the simple end are toys such as DVDs and telephones we carry in our pockets that can, if their owners wish, play movies or simply, in the case of my grandkids, affirm connections to friends with whom they have not spoken in four or five minutes.

When I was 12, I had thousands of acres of woods in which to roam, and streams and a big lake in which to swim and slake my thirst. All of it was not ours, but property boundaries were not strictly enforced in those days. The 513-acre pond was home to three pair of loons, a couple beaver families, a family of moose and several species of fish.

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Kids need (outer) space for dreams

Somewhere, below the water and above the trees, other worlds await young explorersI went for a walk in the woods one day with the granddaughters, in search of the source of a creek which flows from the county where I live in south-central Pennsylvania, across the state line into Maryland, and joins the Monocacy River east of Thurmont.

A paper company once owned the particular piece of forest, 2,500 acres of the first tree farm in the state that gave birth to the nation’s forest conservation movement. There was a time when men with axes and horses took to the woods to cut trees and drag them to a nearby road, from whence they could be carted to the mill. Axes gave way to chainsaws, and horses to huge, powerful tractors called “skidders,” but even then, logging was a slow process. I know; I was raised where logging and paper making was the primary industry.

Chainsaws have been replaced by machines with air conditioned cabs from which one operator can virtually denude a mountainside in a matter days, instead of the months or years once required, leaving the owner to pay taxes for several decades while waiting patiently for trees to grow to usable girth. Glatfelter, owner of that 2,500 acres, had decided to sell the land, to let someone else pay the taxes and “call us when you’ve got wood to sell.” … Continue reading …