Sunday, April 12, 2009

Red Maple at Dawn

A tall, spreading red maple stands at the edge of the
fields and wetlands, back lit by the morning sun.

At dawn each day a male cardinal perches near the top, soaking up the sun's first morning rays and singing over his domain. A pheasant crows from the grassy field and a killdeer calls out its own name from a freshly plowed field.

Later in the day, a red-tailed hawk sits in nearly the same spot in the red maple,
preening and looking out over the fields for a meal.

Red maple is the most common woodland tree on the farm, followed by black cherry and sugar maple. Last summer my dad used a chain saw to cut down some of the cherry, which my sister then used for stairs in her new house.

A smattering of white pine, red oak, shagbark hickory, hemlock, and white ash are mixed in with the maples and cherry. The forest is different today. Much of the sugar maple was cut many years ago and the elm and chestnut succumbed to disease. Several beautiful butternuts still grace the yard. These will be the story of another day.

The day started sunny and calm, although with a chill. By mid-morning a cold wind roared in and changed the feel of the day. This did nothing to dampen the Easter egg hunt for my two nieces in the backyard.

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