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.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I have been watching the skeleton forest north of our property since we moved here. You can read posts about it under the forest label.  Greg has taken down the spruce that used to hide the stone wall boundary and to some extent the forest beyond the wall. Now it is possible to see the slow regeneration taking place within the forest.

Bright green patches of young spruce have established themselves in the midst of all the dead wood.  Now, in early spring, you can see the faint pink of small hackmatack and alder, a medium sized maple or two, and the distinguished structure of a tall birch before it has leafed out.  The maple and the birch survived the wind storm that toppled their less deeply rooted neighbours, the spruce, several years ago. The hackmatack and alder are among the first deciduous trees to establish themselves after such a destruction. 

The land in this forest is one big bog, though it's hard to tell that because of the dense tangle of uprooted trees, old trunks and fallen branches. It's almost impossible to walk through this area. You can do it, but it involves inching your way from fallen log to fallen log, holding onto dead branches that you hope are not going to break off in your hand, and never knowing whether what's beneath your feet will suddenly give way. Beneath the forest are springs and streams and a layer of moss-covered humus, and everywhere a great variety of lichen and fungus.  

Though the forest still looks dead, I guess, to someone just glancing at it, I no longer see it that way. I see it as deeply alive and a source of endless admiration.  

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