We noticed a tree service employee consulting with a neighbor for several hours one recent morning. When beautiful wife Sandy walked over to learn what was going on, he tried to sell his services to “improve” our part of the wooded area that runs along the back of our properties.
It was no sale. His first suggestion was to remove a stately hickory growing six feet from one corner of our deck. It shades a good part of our house as well as about a third of the deck. It’s a nice cooling neighbor to have nearby on hot summer days, and a great place for birds to perch as they make sure all is safe on the way to
feeders. The tree expert thought it was a hazard that might fall on our home. Sandy told him we’d take
|Old stub well-dressed for summer|
The next, and last, suggestion,
“I knew how you’d react to that plan,”
Sandy said. “So I thanked him for sharing his
ideas and told him we might get back to him sometime.”
That “ugly old stub” actually is quite lovely this time of year with a luxurious covering of vines. It may be dead but it is part of life for many lively critters. It’s great fun to watch gray squirrels chase each other in and out of the stub’s several cavities. Usually the participants in the games are their namesake color, but now and then a mutant “black” squirrel joins the party. A rarer thrill is watching a pileated woodpecker methodically developing a new cavity.
A variety of insects carry out less elegant, but perhaps more useful, activities in the hollowed-out base of the stub. They provide a good lesson in how Mom Nature replenishes her domain by converting dead residents to enriched soils where new generations will thrive.
The insect work and advancing decay eventually will fell our old stub. As long as I’m around to marvel at the forest life it enhances, nothing will be done to hurry that day.