Posted by: atowhee | February 28, 2021


“To those who seek, much may be revealed.” –Lord Beaver Brook

Here in the rainy Willamette we land-based hominids might stretch our mind to image being an aquatic mammal.
Say, with dense fur to insulate, long whiskers for feeling your way along a pond shoreline, huge incisors for chiseling or shaping green wood, a strong and flat tail for propulsion through water or ruddering or as a profound signaling device. Slap the surface of the pond–once for food, twice for danger. Then presume your favorite salads are the fresh twigs and new leaves. There is plenty of fine fodder in late winter and spring–reeds, cattails, grasses, new willow sprouts. But when was the last time you tasted that prized delicacy, the new shoots and tiny leaf buds at the top of an alder? Not for you the prehensile thumb of the hominid or the grasping claws of the acrobatic squirrels or the flight of the siskins. For you it must be waiting and wisdom.


This morning we heard the Downy drumming in our gum tree. Then we saw both him and her. I managed to get some shots of one and I think it was responding female as this bird was excited, wing flapping, but no drumming.

As Beaver Brook said, “Seek.” Right after the ice storm I noted one oak down, its trunk across the small Clark Creek in city park of same name in Salem. A day later a companion trunk lay parallel across the creek. Two downed oaks. After more than a couple days of downed trees I bothered to look beyond the arboreal havoc. I could clearly see how the sturdy roots ran between the two downed trunks. As research has shown many oak trunks can come from a single individual tree, the underground root system spreading and serving trunk clones, if you will. Now I suspect this Clark Creek oak has four trunks–two that fell across the river and two more still stand further back from the stream with support less imperiled by erosion, without a lean that made ice weight catastrophic. In the third image you see the two standing oak trunks to the left of the fallen ones.

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