The wind whispered through the white pine's boughs as I snowshoed down the trail.
The American chestnut weathers with this characteristic look. What comes to mind when I see a chestnut tree is the tragedy that decimated the chestnuts. I also think of the industries once surrounding the chestnut (ever hear of a chestnut grove?). Who can help but think of the poem, The Village Blacksmith, by Longfellow? But mostly when I see a dead chestnut tree, I think of the beautiful wood hidden under that coarse and cracked surface.
I think wormy chestnut is one of the prettiest woods.
Wormy chestnut paneling looks real good on a wall.
Since seeing a weathered chestnut pole makes me think of the formerly abundant tree and its many uses, I about forget that I am out in the woods on snowshoes looking for insects that are toughing out the winter.
The ants are juiced up with antifreeze and are in a state of torpidity. The ants' torpor lasted for several days after I had brought some in the house just to see if they can really wake up.
I leaned the chestnut back against the pine so that they can both do their thing for many more years and I snowshoed on down the trail.
More to explore:
- Quite possibly THE book on ants
- A great website on ants.
- Mighty Giants: An American Chestnut Anthology
- My website on antique reclaimed lumber (coming soon)