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Mill Creek Musings 10-2-10

My first submission to the News Enterprise was an article about the brilliant fall foliage on the two old maple trees in our front yard. Twelve years later there is only one tree left standing. Its leaves are yellow flecked with brown - much like the age spots on this writer's hands.

Those who know me know that I tend to name inanimate objects such as my cars - Mt. Momma and Sprout. When I walk on Harrington Road, there are two trees that have captured my interest, and so I've given them names.

The first is just before the logging trail that leads to Porter Road. It is a gigantic white pine with countless branches. I call it "The Family Tree" because I imagine that the trunk, which splits into two halves, is like the great grandparents. In this huge family there are sons and daughters, aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws. The branches go in many different directions, but they maintain their connection to the base which is firmly grounded and rooted in the soil.

A short distance away, on the bank of Mill Creek, is an apple tree that I've dubbed "The Widow/Widower Tree". It used to have a large, strong branch that hung out over the water. A few years ago that branch broke off. But the remainder of the tree didn't die. In fact it seems stronger than ever. It stands straight and tall with its leaves reaching skyward toward the sun. To me it represents courage in the face of loss.

When the weather turns cold, squirrels and chipmunks store food for the long winter months, while the field mice seek refuge indoors. We humans know it is time to take down the screens, put up the storm windows, and to stockpile firewood.

There are lessons to be learned from our observations of the natural world. Here in the Adirondacks, every day is a school day.

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