Pick Up Sticks

In a few short weeks, we will own two properties in Wisconsin both fully wooded, except for the spot where are cabin is and our future residence will be placed which is a remnant prairie. Owning a wooded property is beautiful! You are amidst the seasons as they unfold before your eyes. We are lucky to be able to experience such a close relationship with nature. Assuredly, this contact aids my writing.

But, living in forested settings also brings responsibility. We try to leave the woods as they are but they need some help on occasion. Our cabin, which we’ve owned for 17 years, is surrounded by tall white pines, cedar, birch, hemlock, and a few maple trees, along with some other conifers. While beautiful during all seasons, storms can wreak havoc on the tree limbs and send them through the air, only to rest on another spot on our land or in the lake. We have responsibility to the lake water and the animals that live there as well. So, debris, when it has accumulated must be picked up. Don’t worry, there’s still enough for the decomposerss to do their jobs.

This is true of the land that surrounds our remnant prairie as well. There, birch, aspen, hackberry, and shagbark hickory dance with oaks in primarily a hardwood forest. The birds love it, as do we.

Sticks, sticks, and more sticks. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2022

But today, as I picked up sticks, I had a vision of the need to continue to pick up sticks for the next twenty years of our lives. It is entirely possible that we will spend a portion of each day for the foresable future picking up sticks. At our cabin, it feels like we are making a dent. One part of our two acre parcel was worked on last year and we will continue to keep that part up. Now, mostly pine needles cover the floor in that section (maybe an 1/8th of an acre). It’s easy to see these limbs and pick them up in that area, cart them over to the fire to burn.

Actually, with spring so far behind this year, it is an ideal time to work. The insects are not biting yet, although tick checks are a must. And the air temperature is tolerable unless there is high humidity. As I work to pick up sticks, our dog gets in on the action and picks up one in her mouth to carry to the fire for me. I am also keeping my eyes peeled for the varnished reshi mushrooms, phesant tail fungi, and fly agarics. The latter of which we need to keep out of the dog’s way. They are deadly. I have yet to see my jack-in-the-pulpit or trillium which I spotted right outside my door last year. Eventually, they’ll appear.

The call of the loon keeps me company too as I pick up stick after stick after stick, humming ever so slightly to myself about how lucky I am.

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