I stood still at the top of Bald Hill (at 281 feet the highest point in our town), warmed by a February midday sun. The woods were quiet, so quiet that I could hear puffs of snow falling from tree tops and the soft rustle of beech leaves. On the hillside below a pileated woodpecker flew gracefully from one tall, mature red oak to another. I continued onto the Bull Pine. I had not visited this massive tree in many months, this white pine that started as a seedling when Bald Hill was bare of trees, cleared for pasture sometime around 1900 or before.
This grand tree, now surrounded by a forest of younger oaks, beeches and birches, measured six feet across at its base. Its curving side branches as big as some of the main trunks of other nearby trees. Although not a source for lumber given its crooks and curves, this tree stands tall and wide in the woods and shares a story of past land uses.