Monday, May 28, 2007
Wild Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
The wood is treasured. Made into Colonial highboys, tables, desks scratched with the quill pens of Benjamin Franklin, it's smooth orange tones darken with the turn of years. Cherry. And there has always been a kind of mystique with the wood from northern Pennsylvania.
I think of them like endangered animals. They've been hunted relentlessly. Loggers will pluck them out of their stands and not touch the Red Maples, the Beech, the Birch, and the other common neighbors. It's hard for them to hide. Their rough, potato chip-like bark is nearly black among so much tan and grey.
As I sit here, I can think of at least five which have ducked the ax on our mountain land. I plant more now, raising them from tiny whips through the long winters.
I'll keep their secret. I won't tell where they are.
This fellow knows too, but he promised not to tell.
UPDATE: To be fair, I should point out that I am pro-logging. When you don't touch forests, you get very old trees, but overall, the diversity of life drops sharply. You can't imagine the wonderful things that pop up and the animals which flourish when sunlight returns after logging. However, there is a big difference between logging supervised by a forester, and one done as "high grading." High grading happens when you simply go through a forest and grab the best trees and leave the rest. That does great harm. If you approach logging with an overall plan, however, including regeneration, then the overall effect is very positive.
The little red fellow is a Red Eft, the terrestrial form of the Red Spotted Newt. They live 7-8 years on land before turning drab green and returning to the water. Our kids love to catch them!
(This post is for Jade Blackwater's Festival of Trees.)