The Dawn caught my eye this morning, as it often does. As usual, silhouetted against the rising sun, stands a massive white pine. Three pine trees tower over their neighbours, their roots in the deep valley of the Little Mactaquac Stream. They stand taller than other good sized trees at the top of the valley. They have looked like that my entire life. They were big trees when my father was young!
I am the fourth generation of my family to live here on this farm, but tree families have been here much longer. My father told the story of taking up the wooden floor of the barn, and finding the stumps of the trees that stood there long before. This entire farm was once forest. Trees make my lifetime, my history, seem short.
Almost forty years ago, my father cut down a sister to these trees. We were building my house, and I wanted pine boards. The logs were so big that only one at a time could be hauled to the local mill.
Most rooms in my house display the wood of that one pine. I am most proud of the cupboards, constructed by neighbours almost entirely of pine from that one tree. The cupboard doors are one board wide. The tree was two boards wide, or more. The equipment at the mill could only accommodate a board this size, no more.
This summer was dry, more dry than any of us remember. The Little Mactaquac Stream was a series of puddles where small fish hid. I’m sure these three pines have lived through other times of drought, other losses. Their needles have mulched the forest floor. Their branches have been home to many generations of creatures.
Our COVID journey is insignificant to trees. Their view is higher, broader, than ours. In drought, trees sink roots deeper, further, becoming stronger in their distress. Life continues. Beauty remains. May our roots also be deepened. May we too be strengthened, in this long “drought”. May we continue to stand tall. May our survival through this difficult time inspire generations to come. May we be blessed in our solitude and in our safely spaced community.