My education

The morning rumoured more rain, but by noon a breeze came up, the sky cleared, and the sun reached me through the trees.

northern goshawk I took down a poplar that was sick at the core. Carpenter ants were nesting and making a general go of it at the base of the trunk and had constricted sap flow. The tree was drying and dying and, unlike the ants, would not last many more seasons. I notched the tree’s north side close to its natural lean, then one cut on the south side and it collapsed—gratefully I thought—along my intended path.

I built a fire, got up a sufficient base of heat and gave the branches, top, and decaying pieces to the flames. The rest I cut into splitting lengths and stacked between the trunks of two trees.

I spent the rest of the day cutting grass, picking wild strawberries, lying on my back, watching squirrels, tending my fire, and making peace with a pair of agitated northern goshawks whose territory I had obviously invaded. They flew to nearby trees and squawked at me at from above. After an hour or so they received me, or dismissed me—I was fine either way.

My education is here in the woods. I meet myself with the aid of hawk and squirrel, rain and woods, sun and blossom.


  1. I’m jealous of your goshawk encounters, pleasant or not. I haven’t seen them up close yet, just circling above.

  2. Thanks for the link Craig…and I know your group will flourish. (Especially in a greenhouse:) You have much to give, much wisdom to offer. Wish we lived closer.

    Teryl, they are glorious birds…circling or sitting in trees.

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