Monday, December 04, 2006


I am currently cleaning out a small section of my property. An area that has never been modified by me or my father before me. We allowed Nature to take it's course. It became a puckered up mess of wild rose bushes, sumac, wild cherry and twisted half grown maple saplings. None of these plants are appealing in the least. But the gnarled up and closed area was a haven for the many wild critters that habitate in that kind of enviroment.

As I work and clean my way into it, I am finding out just how connected this area is to the rest of my property for the local wild animal population. I found a dead tree still standing that has been an obvious point of interest for at least one local bear. The trunk has been dug out to a height of around 6 feet with bear scat liberally sprinkled in the area. I did not inform my wife of this as the tree sits but a scant 80 feet from the back of the house. I also have found a territorial marker of scat from at least one bobcat. In the winter, many local deer yard up there.

In the front side yard, a hickory sits. Each year it draws squirrels from all around to the many nuts it produces. It is possible for squirrels to get at it via the tree to tree highway that exists along the edge of my property. I am now faced with a dilemma. The next tree I want to take out is a sad excuse of a wild cherry. All bent and broken from the ice storm in 98, it is not just an eyesore but square in the way of my future plans for this section. But should I remove it, this important conduit to the hickory will be severed. The squirrels will have to touch ground for a short space before reaching the relative safety of the treeline again.

I am not particularily concerned about the squirrels. They are just big rats with bushy tails in my opinion. I guess I am just making note of how connected everything in Nature is. I am also admitting to my part in changing the status of that connection. That the very act of cleaning up a small 100 foot square area in Maine will affect the local wildlife in a negative way.

When I see the results of my small efforts and then look at the thousands of acres clear cut behind my property, I have a better understanding of the impact Man has on his world. I am less isolated now. I am more intimately involved. I am the ultimate predator. Nothing living is safe in my presence. And I consider myself one of the good guys.

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