Use of the Forest

Public use of Saginaw Forest is encouraged. Rules for the public's use include (but are not limited to):

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer Storms.

Last night after dinner Leto and I wandered down to the dock to enjoy the cool breeze. The ruthlessly hot day afflicted even our very early morning rounds, leaving us panting and guzzling water. That late evening breeze was the breeze of salvation. Watching the hoards of tiny mosquitos attempt hopeless flights to my exposed skin was equally satisfying.
We enjoyed an interesting mix of soft hues stirring amongst patchy clouds for nearly an hour. I noticed an ominous block of gray coming in over the northwest corner of the lake. Dog seemed content to stay out all night, but I got him up for our last visit to the outhouse/grassy patch. In the time it took to walk to the outhouse and emerge, the clouds that had hung to the northwest already completely covered the sky.

The house was still uncomfortably warm. I opened the window, turned on the fan, and tucked in for the night. I barely made out the sound of the wind rustling leaves over the whir of the fan. I drifted off. I typically find storms in Saginaw to be calming. Like a tranquilizer. But at 1:30am I was cracked awake by thunder so immediate it sounded less like a rumble and more like two trucks crunching together head first. My tiny window was alive with light. The noise from the fan, right next to my bed, was so imperceptible that the only reason I knew it was still on was the soft, rhythmic brush of air against my face. My phone lit up with a tornado warning. Nestled as I am right at the base of a hill in the lake valley, the house isn't likely to see tornado damage. Nonetheless, the warning made me hyper aware of the wind, and I started running through the condition of the trees on the hillside just beyond the walls from me. I stayed awake, watching the lights.

It felt like an eternity, but eventually the sound of the fan started coming in to sharper focus. The thunder was becoming a distant rumble, the rain a soft patter. I fell back asleep.

The forest I woke up to was something entirely different. Sun blazed through the trees. The lake was brown from the flush of sediment. The flashy creek is down to a very gentle trickle, but I imagine at 2am the water ripped violently through it. A pine had come down across the trail to the southwest, jutting out jagged into the trail at waist height. Despite its size and proximity to other tree trunks, it was actually quite easy to simply lift and move. Another laid across the trail by the cabin. This one proved too difficult to shove aside, wedged as it was between tree trunks. I wasn't disappointed. It had been a while since I last broke out the ax. The last deadfall was back when we were still under snow and ice. It felt good to grip it in my hands again, and to get covered in rich smelling earth while lifting and throwing the cut tree.

Around the other side of the lake I picked up trash left by visitors who had likely hurried out. I grumbled a bit, but at least it was more time to enjoy the beautiful day before returning to my desk job.

The large old ash tree that fell last week is still down. It is low priority on my work list, being that it is easily skirted. I plan to get to it this weekend, chainsaw willing. I also plan to start hacking back growth crowding the trails.

Enjoy the day, all.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Saginaw caretakers. I was excited to stumble across your blog the other day, somewhat like I stumbled across your cabin in Saginaw forest one evening. (My first trip through these magnificent woodlands and wetlands). I thought I had trespassed onto private property when I saw the sign in the yard about dogs on leashes, then I realized I wasn't hopelessly lost after all, but still on the trail.

    What an amazing job you have! What an envy! Please keep up the blog as often as time allows. And also, was it the Aspen pines that are mentioned on the placard that are the second oldest east of the Mississippi? Or does it mean second oldest pines... in general? I can't believe I have lived in Ann Arbor my whole life and didn't know about the Saginaw Forest. Amazing place. :-)