Tuesday, August 10, 2021

making friends with white pine

Ruth and I have founded the Kahshe Lake Amateur Naturalists Society; she is president and I am secretary of KLANS. (Ignore please the negative connotation of that word. We are benign.) Yesterday I said, I don't know what all these trees are - which are pines, which firs, which hemlocks? She got out her books, and we did some research; today on our walk, we gathered specimens of needles and took photographs of trunks. 

Our conclusions: lots of gorgeous white pine with their long soft needles, with some red pine, red oak, Eastern cedar, Eastern hemlock, and balsam fir. And one we can't figure out. Many kinds of mushrooms - another day's research. And some beautiful lacy fungus. On the walk, it felt like we were saying hello to friends, now we know their names. Most of them are enormous, growing out of sheer granite. How do they anchor themselves and begin to grow? What do their roots attach to? 

My trusty leader and president:

We've had a gift today; severe thunderstorms were predicted from morning till night. It's now nearly 4 of a lovely day, periodically clouding over but not a spot of rain. We've been outside nearly all day; I've swum twice, we've done our naturalists' walk and sat at our office table. I did some work, she's nearly at page 100 of Tom Stoppard. Tonight's dinner: trout with local green beans and corn. 

Last night we watched Rachel Maddow for a dose of hideous reality - the Americans deliberately, willingly slaughtering themselves with Covid. The family of a dear friend in Europe has Covid - her husband, who's fully vaccinated, and two grandsons are ill with fevers and coughs and will have to socially isolate for weeks. Yet Americans are willing to die for the freedom to ignore what the government and scientists recommend. Beyond comprehension. 

At noon, while Ruth was attending her Pandemic University course, I sat outside with my earbuds looking at the trees whose names I now know, the lake, the rock, sky, bluejays and hummingbirds, waterlilies, loons, chipmunks, moss, lichen, shrubs, Ruth's herbs and annuals in pots. I listened to Bach's Concerto for Oboe and Violin, so exquisitely beautiful, and - you know what's coming - wept with gratitude, that I am here to listen and see and smell. And relish.


  1. How can you listen to the beautiful surround of nature if you have earbuds in your ears? I don't understand.

  2. Lovely, Beth. As a card-carrying tree lover, I'm just behind you, gently crushing a sprig of balsam fir...

  3. Juliet, while Ruth was listening to her program, I was sitting nearby with earbuds. Otherwise, definitely listening to the trees. And Theresa, it's partially because you know the names for EVERYTHING that I've started to find out, too. Thanks for the inspiration.