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.
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.
Use of the Forest
Public use of Saginaw Forest is encouraged. Rules for the public's use include (but are not limited to):
- No parking in front of the access gate.
- Public use hours are from 6am to 6pm only; no camping on the site!
- No vehicles or bicycles are permitted on the site except those for approved research and teaching use (bike parking available at the main gate).
- Dogs with owners are welcome to visit, but they must be on a leash. (Also see here.)
- Dog owners must carry out all pet waste; please bring your own doggie bag to do so.
- No cutting or collecting of plant material; no hunting or harming vertebrates (this includes no fishing).
- No smoking.