Reading an Old Story

by Carl Strang

The landscape is a book of many chapters, waiting to be read. Some chapters are fleeting, and must be read within days of their writing (before the snow melts). Others last for years. Near the south shore of Mays’ Lake at Mayslake Forest Preserve there is a decaying tree stump.

The stump is on the right, with a stem of similar color and diameter beside it. Both have lost their bark.

The stump is on the right, with a stem of similar color and diameter beside it. Both have lost their bark.

A closer examination reveals the tooth marks of a beaver on the ends of both pieces. Looking up, we find that the stem leads to branches tangled in those of adjacent trees.

No bark remains anywhere. This has been here for years.

No bark remains anywhere. This has been here for years.

This view best shows how the tree's fall was arrested.

This view best shows how the tree’s fall was arrested.

Cutting this tree probably was a full night’s work or more. All the beaver obtained was the cambium it could reach from the ground. We got a chapter to read, all the more valuable because there have been no beavers resident on this lake for at least 5 years.

Advertisements

1 Comment

  1. jomegat said,

    January 3, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I wonder if beavers can control the direction of a tree’s fall the way a human logger can.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: