The tragedy of birch and poplar trees in winter.
December 25th, 2022
My forest is a mess those days. It is not quite a winter, it is not quite anything, really. Just a wet and slippery and (in parts) icy and drab and depressing and brown and dirty white mess. Over the last month, there were a few days of dangerously low temperatures, there were a few days of heavy snowfall, there were a few days of thaw and heavy rains, and there was no sun for weeks now. Overall — a chaotic shambles of a season.
Traditionally, after a Christmas lunch, I went on a walk in the forest to burn some calories, but mostly to regain a clear head from too much talking and interacting, and way too much eating. I did both and even had a nice nap after getting back home to top it off. Pleasantly, I didn't see anybody else in the forest. No Sunday and/or Christmas walkers, no dog walkers, and no families out for the stroll. Just quietness and some freezing rain on my face — for me, that is perfection.
One of the paths was blocked by fallen trees, as in the photo above. The path is still walkable underneath, but there seems some danger that the trees might fall all the way to the ground. As I got closer, I could see that it was two fully grown birch trees that were uprooted from their place (and the ground in this area is very swampy and provides only flimsy anchorage for the trees). Now, looking at the photo below — are those two or just one tree?
There are two trunks, but it seems like those trees sprouted from one seed, which is remarkable — one tiny seed, one root system, and yet two separate trees growing close to each other in unison. I guess that could have been a reason those trees have fallen — the roots were not able to provide the hold for twice the expected weight and pull of the trees.
What is also seen here is that as the birch trees went down, they hit and snapped a poplar tree that was innocently growing nearby. It was a violent death for this poplar tree, as it happens in nature. It had to be sudden and random and extremely powerful to just snap that tree in half. Now, the old neighbors, after growing up together, with their roots intertwined underneath the ground — are in the forever rest, united by a tragedy that befalls all the living things. But come spring — they will provide new life and nutrients and shelter to all the new living forms — be it mosses or insects or birds or shrubs or beetles or grasses nearby. That is a very well-worked fulfillment of expectations.