In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A visit to the yellow birch tree

Along the main road, near the place where the osprey nest, is a stand of old yellow birch trees. The biggest of them sits apart. Its thick scarred roots spread out and sink down into a moss covered hillock that gives softly beneath your feet, so that you come near with care, as if approaching an ancient sacred place. 

The trunk of this tree has been twisted by centuries of swirling wind and its bark is deeply creviced, almost black with age.  A whole branch, itself as big as a mature tree, has grown far out from the main trunk and rests its weight on the ground, slowly undulating away in the direction of the cove. The tree wears the calamities of age.  Yet as hollow and ravaged and scarred as it is, it is deeply alive even in winter, dappled and pied with lichen and moss, home to innumerable insects and small burrowing creatures. It is thought to be the largest and oldest yellow birch tree in Nova Scotia.  But no matter: it is a wonder just in itself.