Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tree Stumps

I think tree stumps are interesting. Old stumps with their exposed roots have expressive postures. There’s the mystery of who cut the tree and where the log ended up. On the practical side, there’s the resulting example of how the area responds to a sudden influx of sunlight due to tree removal. Since I’m striving to affect change through tree removal, it’s a help to study the area around the stump for clues to how various plants reacted to the change.

The cedar stump has lost a lot of its wood to decomposition. I don’t know how long ago the tree was cut, but cedar wood has a high resistance to rotting, so it must have taken several decades for the stump to reach this conditions. I do know that this stump was already looking old when I moved here 25 years ago.

Here’s another old stump and log. You would assume that the log was once attached to the stump, but the cuts on the two parts don’t match. Did someone drag this log over to this stump? Why would they do that? I learned long ago that you shouldn’t always expect a rational explanation for other people’s behavior.

I found this piece that was once the section that connected the stump to the log. Why would you cut this off? After cutting it, why would you just leave it here? Why wasn’t the log hauled away. Maybe someone was trying to cut sections off the log to use as clock bases and decided their chainsaw skills just weren’t up to the job.

The top of this old stump is growing an interesting pattern of mosses and lichens. It looks like a relief map of a tropical island with the moss representing the tops of tropical palms and shrubs and the lichens playing the part of coral reefs.

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