Ditto what the Lorax said.

I speak for the trees. For the woods. For the forests.

Does everyone remember what the Lorax proclaimed in the famous Dr. Seuss book?

Sure, you remember.

He solemnly said, “I am the Lorax,  I speak for the trees.”

This blog is ditto what the Lorax said so mightily.

Today I am joining hands with the Lorax and bravely echoing his sincerity:  I am Kathy and I speak for the trees.

Leaf caught in bark.

I’ve told you that we live like Laura Wilder Ingalls and Pa and Ma and Mary and Baby Carrie in a “Little House in the Big Woods”.

Even though the Ingalls lived down south in Wisconsin back in the 1800’s and the Drues moved way up north to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the late 1970’s, you’re probably wondering whether the woods where Laura played looks similar to the woods where Kathy wanders.

We are gathered together today to discuss the woods, the natural homeland of trees.  I am aiming to sketch a picture for you of what it’s like to live in the woods of Michigan’s UP where there are reportedly 8.7 million forested acres.  Pull up your wooden chair by your wooden computer desk atop your wooden floor and listen carefully.

Circle of fallen brush in winter

Even though I’m not a scientist, I can share this much with confidence:  today’s woods exist in tandem with their history.  And the history of the forest is tightly interwoven with human intervention.  This is the most pertinent fact:  Most of the woods in the United States in the twenty-first century have been previously logged.

You may hear the word “woods” and picture old-growth hemlock, cedar, and maple trees so big you can hold hands with your six best friends and wrap yourself around one big beautiful tree in a gigantic tree hug.

Lots of tree hugs...

No, my gentle tree-loving reader, you won’t find many of these giants left in the woods around here.  These old-growth trees are almost non-existent, although sometimes you can luckily find one and hug to your heart’s desire.  Sometimes plots of land have been protected and you can tiptoe softly among huge trees singing pioneer songs.  But this is a rare occurrence.

Woods in deep green summer

Most of our land has been logged to provide your wooden furniture, books and newspapers not once, but sometimes two or three or more times.  The Upper Peninsula is filled with trees, yes, it’s true, but there are many young saplings, up-and-coming arboreals, teenage trees.  They are young whippersnappers dancing in the wind toward distant skies.

Swamp-woods. Hear the waterfall trilling of the red-winged blackbird?

Would you like to hear the history of our 23 acres of woods?  In the late 1800’s  rugged loggers sawed giant white pine and cedar trees, straining and sweating with their hand saws, until the giants plummeted to the earth with a resounding thud.  The land between Keweenaw and Huron Bays witnessed tree after tree after tree fall.

Many of these huge trees were probably floated onto the bays headed to local sawmills and ships to distant ports.  Many of these softwoods helped rebuild the city of Chicago after Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked the lantern and fire razed through much of the burgeoning metropolis.   Other Michigan and Wisconsin towns including our village of L’Anse in 1896, also burned and were rebuilt.

Henry Ford later looked at our remaining hardwood trees–primarily sugar maple– and envisioned fancy wooden dashboards and body framework in his new-fangled cars.  Ka-boom!  Along came a second wave of logging, which often left some areas clear-cut and littered with flammable slash.

The land around Aura (where we live) lay in tangled brush, drying dead leaves, and stumps.  One fine warm day in the late 1920’s a fire was sparked by a passing locomotive and spread through the logging melee.  Hundreds of acres burned, including much of Point Abbaye which separates Keweenaw and Huron Bays.

The denuded burned soil washed down steep grades into Huron Bay, filling already-shallow end of the bay with sediment.  This robbed our soil of nutrients for the next generation of timber.

After a fire in the woods...

Huge deep ravines formed as the soil swelled toward the bay.  Ravines cut periodically across the land, an undulated up and down hike in this modern new century, the result of human tinkering almost a hundred years ago.  The ravines are still there.  We overlook one from our deck.

What happened after the fire?  Seedlings sprouted.  But not the old-growth giants of yesteryear.  In the life of a forest, first generation trees arrive first, like sentinels, to assist the depleted or immature soil.  Even-age trees all sprout at the same time and grow quickly in full sunlight.  Trees like poplar arrive to grow tall, fast, and large.

Poplar trees grow up quickly (think 40-150 years above ground, although their root system can live much longer) and then crash back to the soil.  The rotting trees decompose leisurely, nourishing the depleted earth.  The increasingly nourished soil then favors seedlings like uneven-aged soft maple trees which grow a tad more slowly than poplars.  They are tolerant to shade, with the original canopy of poplar often above them, but they are certainly not the old-growth giants of our Pioneer brethren.

Wind storms crash tall trees to the ground, sometimes even pulling up the stump and root system

The forest completes a cycle in its ever-changing existence.  Everything in the woods from the smallest creature to the tallest tree lives in interdependence.  It’s a cosmic dance.  One logging episode disturbs the equilibrium, taking years to re-establish the momentum.

You may also be thinking that if you’ve seen one woods, you’ve seen ’em all.  You may think “woods” is a homogenous word.  No, dear reader, I am here to relate that the forest is as diverse as a human population–perhaps even more so.

Tract of woods in winter

There are all kinds of forest.  There are tracts of spruce, hemlock, white pine.  (Think green.  Think evergreens.  Think Christmas trees.) There are cedar swamps so dark and murky and moss-covered that you breathe historic reverence.  There are birch forests with white-barked trees gleaming in moonlight.  Aspen or poplar forests.  Maple, both hard and soft.  Oak forests. So many forests I can’t name ’em all without writing until tomorrow morning.

Human in woods. (OK, it looks like my daughter.)

And–as you can imagine–there are woods which contain all sorts of trees, intermingled.  The oak tree sheltering the baby pine.  The hard maple racing the poplar to the clouds.  The hemlock where a fawn lies motionless in late May, waiting for Mama Doe’s return.

If you walked between here and Marquette, a town maybe 80 miles south and east, you would traverse all kinds of woods.  You would meet millions of trees.  Old-growth miracles, sapling tracts with baby trees growing so close together that they slap your face, slap, slap, slap, worse than mosquitoes.  I know because I’ve walked in them.

You’d wander through swamps so impenetrable you couldn’t easily find your way out before the 4th of July.  You would find manageable sections where your feet cheerfully thought they were in Central Park, New York City, so nicely manicured you could picnic in the wide-open spaces between trees.

Baby winter spruce

The woods are so diverse that you could study the flora and fauna for years upon botanical years and never completely fathom the interconnected nature of all the creatures and trees.

As I’ve said before, I am a tree hugger AND a tree killer.  We burn wood in our wood stove.  We use wood furniture and read books and magazines.

I like to think that we’re like the Native Americans who honored every creature’s life as they pulled back their bow string.  They murmured prayers of thanksgiving to the deer, the sturgeon, the great black bear, the swimming otter.  They attempted to utilize every part of the creature.  They often gave back to the earth by laying a pinch of sacred tobacco next to their fallen comrade.

The elegant companionship of birch

“Thank you for giving your life, so that we may eat,” a hunter might converse with a fallen partridge.

I try to remember to give thanks to the fallen tree brothers and sisters, as well.

“Thank you for giving your bodies so that we might be warm,” I might say to the maple or oak before our wood splitter fragments the logs into manageable chunks.

Too often I forget, and remember, and forget again.

Autumn woods reflected in small lake

The woods are a living entity, a sacred dance of trees, a mix of bodies crashing to the earth after wind storms and steady upward growth toward sun.  When their bodies fall and rot into earth, they nurture and heal and create anew.

Thank you for pausing to learn a little more about our Little House in the Big Woods.  Do you have any burning questions about the woods?  Have you ever lived in a forest?  Do you have any woods-stories to share?

What is your name and do you speak for the trees, too?

Do you speak for the trees, too?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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117 Responses to Ditto what the Lorax said.

  1. Reggie says:

    This was such a heart-stirring post, Kathy. Gorgeous images too; I find it soo hard to choose, as they are all soo lovely, but I particularly like the last one, with the sunlight seeming to light up the yellow-golden-reddish foliage.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Ms. Dear Reggie. I wanted to–somehow–describe the way “the woods” really are in the modern USA. Our imaginations like to think they are somehow different, I think. Glad you liked the photos. They are all old ones, chosen from 2008-until now.

  2. I especially love “The elegant companionship of birch” photo – they are such beautiful trees! I grew up in the woods, as you know, Kathy. My sister was doing some research on maps of the area around our parents’ property at the U.S. Geological Survey. We were surprised to learn that our woods used to be a small farm and that “my” hemlock tree was standing all by itself near the edge of the farm’s property. That goes along with what you are saying about how relatively young many forests are. I also appreciate how Native Americans were thankful and respectful to the plants and animals that they used so very carefully to sustain their lives. Never taking more than they needed to survive. We lived on Cedar Swamp Road, and part of Cedar Swamp was in our woods. So I loved your reference to “cedar swamps so dark and murky and moss-covered that you breathe historic reverence.” I’d love to explore your woods some day!

    • Kathy says:

      There are so many woods around here to explore, Barbara. Today I went down to another swamp (not a cedar swamp) and discovered a beaver den. Didn’t see a beaver, though. I loved hearing your description of “your” hemlock tree. It’s interesting how we can bond so deeply with our tree brethren. (I would love to explore with you, too, my friend.)

  3. Fountainpen says:

    Lovely, and yes, I speak to and speak for trees too.

  4. debyemm says:

    You sure know how to write a title that gets me here !! Oh yes, I speak for the trees. I have many fine friends out there in the forest, that I meet with almost every day. They have individual characteristics that I love about them (the ones I’ve actually been able to get to know – there are so many, I could not hold them ALL individually in mind). We are fortunate to still have some very large and very old trees along the creek road but we’ve been told by our local Missouri State Forester that most trees here don’t live beyond 50-100 yrs because our soil is shallow due to so much bedrock. Therefore, our trees when the wind takes them down (always the big old Oaks fully leafed like sails in the spring storms) have rootwads that are spread widely but not deep. Still, Missouri was almost deforested completely to build the railroads way back when. In our forest, we have Oaks, Maples, Walnuts, Hickories, Pines and Cedars and others. We planted over 18,000 saplings in 40 acres of riparian buffer. We planted more densely and chose 20 varieties (instead of 3) for diversity participating in a program of the USDA for which we were grateful for “the help” to “support” the continued health of our forest and streams. I’ve been hiking an hour a day through our forest, for over 20 years, and NEVER have I been bored with it. I have called myself a Dirt-worshipping Tree-Hugger and I really do hug trees. I really do appreciate them; and I “use” wood too, with full awareness of the magnificent interdependence, that is the web of life in our forest.

    • Brenda Hardie says:

      Hi Debyemm…where are you at in Missouri? I’ll be going there this summer…to Jackson where my honey lives. ♥ Oh and I have to share something funny….I had my young son hug a tree here at the Nature Center…to show how huge it is and guess what happened! He was immediately covered with boxelder bugs…running away hysterically in a panic! We still go right by the tree when we walk the trails out there (although as Kathy knows, my knees don’t allow me to walk all the wonderful trails deep in the woods, just the easy trails) anyway…Alex always remembers the bugs and stays away from the tree, he’ll wave from a distance and say “Hi tree…do you have a lot of bugs on you today?” lol It’s cute.

      • debyemm says:

        Brenda, we are about an hour west of Jackson, up in the hills. Loved your story about your son. I used to carry my older boy in a backpack carrier on my hikes, when he was little. We had a big old “hollow” tree, at who’s base was a pile of what we called “tree dirt”. He would make me pick some up for him to hold. Sadly, that tree went down, in one of the storms we’ve had, in the last 4 years. In 3 of the last 4 years, the storms have been bad enough to take a lot of tree lives. I actually feel it as “painful”, immediately afterwards, and grieve a bit.

        • Brenda Hardie says:

          Wow, you aren’t very far from where I’ll be visiting 🙂 Don’t you just treasure memories of times spent in the woods with your kids? ♥ I know what you mean about grieving for the lost trees…I have felt that same way when storms have caused so many trees to fall 😦 They are so beautiful, I hate to see them down.

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, I know you as one of the most tree-lovin’ people I’ve met. It sounds like your trees topple over, too. It’s so sad to lose them. I also suddenly longed to see a hickory again after reading about yours. We don’t have hickories here. I was so sad earlier today…went to the morel mushroom spot…and discovered that the 40 acres around it had been logged. Clear-cut, mostly. this has happened more times than I can count in our 30+ years here. Stops the heart for a moment. thank you for pausing to share your love of trees.

  5. Oh, Kathy, what a beautiful post. Love the way you have shared what the woods are like in various seasons. I loved to play in the “woods” when I was a kid–climbing trees, building forts, exploring. It was magical for me–though I don’t know if they were big enough to be considered actual “woods.”

    • Kathy says:

      Kathy, I think they were probably big enough to be considered woods–OK, maybe not, it’s hard to decide, isn’t it? I grew up in an apple orchard next to a corn field and adored sitting up in the apple trees, dreaming away. In between writing in the bedroom, that is! Thank you for liking this. I actually took time to develop it a bit, like a “real” writer.

  6. What beautiful writing! Your pictures are wonderful, too, but you honestly could have left them all out, as your words so completely conveyed the strength and majesty of the woods.
    I am fortunate to have this little property that is about half woods. I’m also very lucky that the front – cleared – portion was an old Mormon farmstead. I have three large old maples that survived because they bordered the farmer’s field. At their base, if you scrape off the sod, is a huge rock pile where the frost-heaved rocks were thrown to the side as they plowed.
    Thank you, Kathy, for a wonderful, thoughtful post!

    • Kathy says:

      OK, Cindy, I loves you! I had fun writing this post in a writer-ly way. But also enjoyed searching in the files for photos that might show the woods in their diversity. Thank YOU for the lovely description of your Mormon farmstead and the three ancestor maples. I love those rock piles that farmers often created. Glad you enjoyed this. Hugs!

  7. Brenda Hardie says:

    Oh Kathy, thank you for this beautiful post! I love the woods and you know it is my dream to live near the woods someday. I read as many books as I can about the woods, about life in the woods. About woods in different locations. My favorite being the stories written by Helen Hoover about her life in the woods along the Gunflint Trail. I also read a good book about a guy living in a remote, wooded wilderness in Montana. There have been other books…one about living in the woods of Maine and some I don’t recall. If you know of any good books about your woods let me know…because I’ll look for them and certainly read them! One good book that talks about the devastating effects of the lumbering business is “Under a Flaming Sky” by Daniel Brown…you simply must read it…it’ll keep you on the edge of your seat the whole way through! It’s about the deadly firestorm in Hinckley MN. I love the woods….I love the life I find there, the peace, the quiet, the noise, and yes the death. I love the trees.
    Your pictures are beautiful…I especially love the “lots of tree hugs” and the last picture. Course the sweet and snowy “baby winter spruce” captures my heartstrings too 🙂
    Thank you Dear Kathy! I just know that someday I’ll find my way up there and wander the woods with you (bringing my walking stick of course!) ♥

    • Brenda, Helen Hoover’s “The Gift of the Deer” is one of my best loved books. I think I will plan to read some of her other books because you’ve enjoyed them…

      • Brenda Hardie says:

        Barbara, I am so glad someone else has read Helen’s books 🙂 I’ve read a couple of them more than once and could read them again and again! “years of the Forest”, “The Long-Shadowed Forest” and “A Place in the Woods” are my favorites! The last one I bought for my honey for a Christmas gift and at Barnes and Noble they said it was one of only 4 left in the country! I wished I could have bought one for myself at the time. But I’ll just have to keep checking it out from the library (it has to be sent from another local library since the one here does not have it on file though) Be sure to let me know what you think 🙂 Happy reading Barbara!

    • Kathy says:

      I have never read these books, Brenda, but will look them up. Oh, Brenda, I don’t know if you read one of my comments up above, but–sigh–I went looking for morel mushrooms today (didn’t find a one) and the entire 40 acres leading to the morel area had been logged. Maybe clear-cut. It was one of those devastating heart-stopping moments. Have had a lot of those moments over the years, when sadness for the trees threatened to overcome for a while. I don’t understand why we humans do this. I love your love for the woods. I wish you many trees in your future…I also wish you a healed knee or two so you can walk among the leaves.

      • Brenda Hardie says:

        Oh no Kathy…that is so distressing! 😦 We need our forests more than ever! Sometimes it feels so disheartening that we as a people do not learn our lessons. May God and Mother Nature forgive us all.
        Thank you so much for your kind wishes ♥

  8. susanblake says:

    Awesome as usual, lady! I hug trees too – especially the biggest one on our property up north that I named Elder Tree. It’s so big I cannot get my arms around it, but I’ll often just embrace it anyway. Woods are not just woods, as you said. The woods here are totally different from the woods by our house up north and I love the diversity! I love the pictures of your trees, all painted by the Divine! What an artist huh?

    • Kathy says:

      May we visit Elder Tree together this summer, SuZen? I hope so. Perhaps if we both stretch our arms around her, we’ll meet. The diversity of the woods is such a gift…and I am so in love with the Divine that has created such beauty.

  9. bearyweather says:

    Most definitely … I speak for the trees. All trees are very precious to me. The heavy wet snow last week took down many trees and branches … a sad sight.

    • Kathy says:

      Bearyweather, I think living among the trees means we must become accustomed to their death. I’ve seen so many die over the years, from wind and humans. It is indeed very sad.

  10. Sybil says:

    I feel a bit like I’ve walked into an “AA” meeting: “Hello, my name is Sybil, and I too speak for the trees”. 🙂

  11. Kiah says:

    I love everything about this post! Go trees!

    • Kathy says:

      I love YOU! Come home soon and sit beneath a tree. OK, how about sit beneath a tree in Central Park and pretend your mama is there, too?

  12. bonnie says:

    I love the woods, the smell as you walk along, the branches twisted every which way, the rotting stumps with mossy growth, the carpet of pine needles. We have a wood lot on the farm, but I don’t get to walk in it now, Thank you for a beautiful post. Again it reminded me of when up there in the “50’s.

    • Kathy says:

      Bonnie, your words have made me remember the smell. And how every woods has a different smell. I am sorry that you haven’t been able to walk in your wood lot, but glad that the memories of the 1950’s comforted and reminded you.

  13. Kathy – You are my hero!

  14. Lori DiNardi says:

    Ahh, as usual, your photos and poetic words touch me. You’re right, the forests are diverse. The woods here in FL are so different than any other northern place I’ve ever seen, with the palms and Spanish moss. North Georgia, where I just visited, was different than FL, and different than Tennessee & North Carolina, where we also frequently visit. Even more differences from where I grew up, walking through the forest preserves of the Chicago suburbs. Ahh, so beautiful to live through your words and photos. Thanks.

    • Kathy says:

      Florida woods are so fascinating–I have paused briefly among them next to the Back Bay at Fort Myers Beach. They kinda scare me a tiny bit because of unknown creatures. Funny how unknown creatures don’t scare me here–I am prepared for bears or fishers or deer or other wildlife–but in Florida–it feels more tangled and swampy. The mind probably isn’t being realistic. I am glad you have known many woods, and that you appreciated these words and photos, Lori.

      • Lori DiNardi says:

        Oh, Kathy, this reminded me. Hope you don’t mind if I continue the conversation. You described Florida’s woods well. I see them that way too. But, you reminded me of woods I’ve seen in movies, TV and photos that I long to visit some day. They are in Vancouver. They look like an enchanted forest. There is a TV show on Sunday nights that takes place there. If you ever get a chance, check it out. It’s called Once Upon a Time. Perfect title for the enchanted forest of Vancouver.

        • Kathy says:

          Lori, I ADORE when people continue conversations here! OK, now I’m longing to meet a Vancouver woods, too. I have a couple of blogging friends who live near there. It feels like a possible destination. Do YOU know anyone there?

          • Lori DiNardi says:

            I follow one blogger who lives there, but that’s all I know. He puts photos up of the city sometimes, but not of the forest yet. I used to watch and follow along with a yoga show on the fitness network. They did their yoga moves out in that forest. It’s when I first discovered it. The place is made of dreams. 🙂

  15. “The woods are lovely, dark and deep…”

  16. lisaspiral says:

    Kathy, you don’t just speak for the trees. You clearly love them. Beautiful post.

    • Kathy says:

      I do love them, Lisa. They are wonderful companions on this journey of life. I sometimes feel inadequate to love them as they ought to be loved–but keep trying. Glad you paused here and felt the wind in their leaves.

  17. Colleen says:

    What a lovely tribute! It’s hard to imagine living without trees and some type of forest nearby. We’ve always had that particular blessing in our lives. I grew up playing in poplar groves, they may not qualify as a bona fide forest but they were pretty amazing to us. Our boys ran wild in the Pacific Northwest coastal forests and our grandkids are doing the same. Now I’m falling in love with the wonderful oaks and mixed forests in our part of CA. And the magnificent coastal redwoods!

    On this note, thank you lovely lady for a most wonderful blog.

    • Kathy says:

      Hello, Colleen. Gosh, I love each and EVERY comment here. so glad that you have known the swaying of poplar trees. Who cares if they were a bona fide forest–they were real, and rooted, and sharing themselves with you… Ahhh, oaks. Ahhh, coastal redwoods! They are so special. I am glad you liked this blog. And that you shared your own Presence with Trees.

  18. Kala says:

    So many fantastic images. I sense a kindred nature soul.

  19. john says:

    Kathy, you tug at my heart from so many different directions. The trees, the history, the woven tapestry of words.

    • Kathy says:

      John, I went for a walk in the woods/swamp today and thought of your love of history. Glad your heart liked the history of the Aura woods. And the woven tapestry of words! Be still MY heart! John you make this lover-of-woods & trees very happy.

      • john says:

        If this is too personal (blush) just say so … Do you and Barry have your corners marked? (geographically of course)

        • Kathy says:

          I had to ask Barry, John. The property edges were marked years ago, before we bought. The official edges are not marked now. Guess we don’t want to pay to have it done, and it hasn’t been a problem thus far. One year our neighbors started cutting down trees (accidentally) on our property and I had to run out to rescue them…but otherwise, all has been well.

  20. Heather says:

    Very poetic prose. The Lorax is one of my all-time favorites, and one I used to read to my biology students (along with “There’s a Hair in My Dirt,” which I think you would enjoy). Like you, I have a very close relationship with the woods. And I also try to give thanks, but find that I forget. I am truly grateful for Mother Nature’s gifts and wish we could teach conservation for conservation’s sake. I realize that nature is in constant flux and we cannot hope to keep things always the same, but how I wish we could all just be a bit less wasteful.
    This was a great post. I suppose we can wait for a week if this is what we’re going to get…nicely done 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      There is a Hair in our Dirt, Heather? Really? I am sure there are a LOT of hairs in our dirt. I know you have a deep relationship with Mother Earth…and, like you, I wish always that we could be less wasteful. Thank you for appreciating the weekly post on its merit. I can’t guarantee ALL the weekly posts will be thoughtful and expansive, but it felt good to put energy and effort into this one. Hugs, my friend. P.S. Guess what! I’m heading through Gaylord and Grayling downstate either in May or June. Wanna meet?

      • Heather says:

        The book is by Gary Larson, of Far Side fame. It’s a great story and my high schoolers appreciated the humor.
        Assuming we are here, I would absolutely love to meet!

        • Kathy says:

          It’s always hard to decide WHEN to travel. Just learned that my brother and his wife sold the family cottage in Bellaire yesterday. I had been planning to stay there on the way downstate. So sad. So many memories…

  21. Joanne says:

    Kathy, I grew up in “the bush” rather than the woods, and loved to explore the gully behind our home. I was only allowed to explore as far as “the big rock” though, as many a bush wandered has been rescued from the dense gullies in the area where I grew up.

    Our bush was constantly burnt though, either through controlled burning by the local Bushfire Brigades, or else due to the irresponsibility of “man”, who would leave campfires unattended, or throw lit cigarettes from car windows into dry grass.

    It’s amazing how quickly the bush here regrows, and also how resiliant the wildlife is in these areas, many little creatures managing to escape the fires and return to their natural habitat afterwards.

    I enjoyed learning more about your Big Woods today, Kathy. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      How fascinating to contemplate the “bush”, Joanne! It sounds so exotic… It truly is amazing how quickly nature re-grows after a fire, but it’s so often painful for us to view. Glad to share our Big Woods with you. If you ever visit Michigan remember that lower Michigan has lots of farmlands and cities. As you travel north it grows more remote with lots more trees.

  22. You have written a beautiful and inspiring story, Kathy. This could be published!

    • Kathy says:

      Patty, I had SUCH fun writing a “developed” story rather than a top-of-the-thoughts blog. It could be published, perhaps, if I had the patience and desire to try it. Wouldn’t that be fun? Wonder why some people have such a strong desire to publish and others not so much? Have you ever published?

      • Yes, in the “early years” I did freelance writing and wrote human interest stories, had a cooking Q & A column and also wrote for publications specializing in advertising, printing and public relations. I definitely think your story as well as some others you’ve posted could be a beautiful little book especially with some of your wonderful photographs.

  23. I am a tree hugger (I have photographic evidence of this!). I grew up deep in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. I got to know the trees so well, I knew exactly what stretch of road we were on or how far away from home we were, based solely on what the forest looked like. You’re so right that each forest has its own personality.

    • Kathy says:

      C.B., I feel like the Northwoods of Wisconsin and the Northwoods of the Upper Peninsula are close neighbors. Glad you’ve known well the language the woods speak.

  24. I’ve wandered around in forests for close to 50 years now, never met one that I didn’t like, although take longer to get to know than others.

    • Kathy says:

      Your comment made me think, Quietsolopursuits. You are right. Some take longer to get to know that others. Wondering if we would like all people as much as we like the woods with enough time and attention?

      • That’s certainly a lovely thought, but woods never have ulterior motives, and I’ve never been in any woods yet that was proud to be a jerk, however, I have met my share of people who go out of their way to be jerks, and are very proud of their abilities in doing so.

        • Kathy says:

          I suppose you are right… I guess I was thinking that sometimes if we get to know folks at a deep enough level they can sometimes drop beneath their ulterior motives and folks can meet heart-to-heart and the jerk factor drops more away… But I am an eternal viewer of the Glass Half Full…

  25. Wish this could be shared with every middle school and high school student in the world – a wonderful ‘biology’ lesson right here. Educational, yet so beautiful with the accompanying photos. I’m sending it on to my daughter, a 6th grade science teacher. Thank you!

    • Kathy says:

      It would be lovely if all students could spend time in the woods…wonder if our world might be different if this was an integral part of education? Glad you enjoyed, roughwighting. I hope your daughter does too.

  26. Carol says:

    Very nice, words and pictures. A landscape without trees is not a landscape at all, I think.

    • Kathy says:

      Hello, Carol. We are very prejudiced in favor of trees, aren’t we? **smile** I can’t imagine living without them…although desert folk do all the time.

  27. lucindalines says:

    Wow Kathy, great lesson on the trees and your area. Good for us all to hear about it.Thanks for taking the time to tell it, and the pictures are just super!!

    • Kathy says:

      Lucinda, I’ve been meaning to write a lengthy blog about the woods for a long time. Now that I’m only publishing once a week, it seemed like the appropriate time. Dug in the photo files to find pics of trees from all seasons of the year. Thank you for your comment.

  28. ladyfi says:

    Trees are the guardians of our earth, and we must be theirs. Lovely post!

    And thank you for pointing out that I’ve been Freshly Pressed… I never think to look there otherwise.

    • Kathy says:

      Lady Fi, love that line about the trees being the guardians of the earth, and we must be theirs. Glad you enjoyed visiting our woods. Glad to have discovered your Freshly Pressed day of fame!

  29. Ahhh, this is a beautiful, beautiful tribute to the northwoods. You’re right about many of the trees being relatively young…I keep meaning to visit Hartwick Pines someday as it’s the largest stand of old-growth white pine in the lower peninsula. I imagine it would be magical to experience such living history.

    Your writing and photography complement one another perfectly. I’ll carry these images of trees in my heart today!

    • Kathy says:

      Sarah, I’ve heard Hartwick Pines are beautiful. May have visited them as a child. There is a tract of old-growth forest near Copper Harbor here in the U.P. as well. They are giant tree-huggers! Glad you enjoyed this essay and the tree photos from our Northwoods.

  30. I too, speak for the trees! Lovely post and sentiments (not to mention some wonderful pictures too :)) Especially enjoyed the shot of the leaf in bark.

  31. Tammy says:

    I love it when the trees speak! And I love your photo of the white birch!

  32. Cee Neuner says:

    I’ve tagged you. Feel free to play along or just ignore it. I know they take time to put together!!

  33. forestfae says:

    My name is Forestfae and I speak for the trees/greenman too 🙂
    How are you dear Cathy?

    • Kathy says:

      Forestfae, I am now smiling thinking about the Greenman. I suppose he’s out lurking in our woods, too. I am fine today, dear Forest Spirit! Hoping your are, too.

      • forestfae says:

        I am fine yes, thank you for asking Cathy.

        Yes, I am sure there might be a Green man or two out and about in your woods as they are so lovely 🙂

  34. sonali says:

    Nice pictures you have put up Kathy. Its important that we spread the message to go green. Look at how beautiful the woods are. We need more of them, for our survival. For the survival of our globe. The drastic changes in weather truly brings a scare. Its important that we save paper. save wood. as much as possible.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful caring words, Sonali. Those drastic weather changes caused by over-logging (and heaven knows what else) are frightening. The trees help the Mother Earth breathe, they say. Honoring you in your saving thoughts.

  35. Elisa's Spot says:

    Heartening, thinkingful, and informative.

  36. Barb says:

    I liked thinking of your UP woods (which I have waked in) as a contrast to my high altitude woods. There is still some old growth here but only because the areas are too remote and impenetrable for logging. I’m worried about my woods this spring. It’s been much too dry. Though I think fire is sometimes part of the natural cycle, I dread its human cost.

    • Kathy says:

      I like thinking about your Colorado woods, Barb. Such a different woods-personality to contemplate. It seems we are always worried–or at least concerned–about the dryness of our woods these years, too. Don’t remember this annual concern in prior years. I dread thinking of the human cost, too. And the tree cost…

  37. Pingback: Arbor Day | By the Sea

  38. Robin says:

    Wonderful post, Kathy. I love all your images, all of your words, and all of your thoughts on the trees and the woods. My name is Robin and I speak for the trees here at Breezy Acres in Ohio. The more I get to know our woods, the more it seems as though I am the woods (or perhaps the woods are me).

    I’m always surprised by how different each forest habitat can be.I think we may have discussed this book a long time ago, but did you read The Trees by Conrad Richter? I try to imagine Ohio covered with trees… and almost get there (in my imagination) at times, especially when visiting southern Ohio near the Ohio River.

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, smiling thinking about the trees at Breezy Acres and your love for them. I like that you recognize that perhaps the woods ARE you. That is such a significant point. Yes! I have read the Conrad Richter books. Pamela Grath recommended them last year and I devoured them. Such a magical series. And I could feel the heavy ambiance of being surrounded by trees–at times I have felt the almost-claustrophobic feeling of being horizon-less. Feeling the energy of the Ohio River in southern Ohio in my imagination now.

  39. dearrosie says:

    This wonderful post kissed my heart and I can see I’m not alone in being moved by your beautiful words and photos, and like Sybil I feel I should be saying “I’m Rosie and I too love trees.”

    Reading a post like this gives me courage that I’m not alone, that there are enough of us out there trying to recall the Native Americans who honored every creature’s life and gave thanks for every tree they chopped down.
    Thank you Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      You are not alone, dear Rosie. I think there are many of us who truly want to recall the sacredness of life. Thank you for pausing to read and comment and honor the trees.

  40. Sheryl says:

    Great post! I especially enjoyed the historic information. I never would have guessed that wooden dashboards would have required enough wood to lead to a second wave of lumbering in Michigan. (Until I ready this post I never even realized that dashboards were once made out of wood.)

    • Kathy says:

      It is fascinating, isn’t it, Sheryl, to realize the whys and wherefores behind some historic events like logging. We tend not to realize all the connections involved in an event such as logging. Thank you for reading.

  41. Karma says:

    I do love the trees. They are giving creatures. Oxygen, fruits, wood, shade – it reminds me of the Shel Silverstein book, “The Giving Tree”. Even as a child I can remember feeling sad reading it. I could be mistaken, but I think you can still find some old-growth forests here and there in New England. I’ve been on some hikes in various areas and found very large trees and wondered about the years those trees have seen.

    • Kathy says:

      I’ve read “The Giving Tree” too, Karma. It’s a wonderful book, but sad, as you say. Old-growth forests are wonderful. It’s interesting live amidst woods of different ages.

  42. flandrumhill says:

    I am the Amax and I speak for the trees too 🙂

  43. Dawn says:

    And I am Dawn and I speak for the trees too. Thanks for reminding us Kathy. I miss my walks in the woods. Katie would love a good walk in the deep woods.

  44. katyarich says:

    Hola Kathy, how wonderful post, thanks for all this information, your pictures are amusing, thanks to sharing, have a lovely week katya

  45. Marianne says:

    I’m afraid I know nothing about the woods, although I’d like to know how to survive in the woods, just in case I get evicted for my loud parties. I was raised in the city. Far, far away from forests, wildlife, and exotic insect species. I think if my health was better, I’d like to take a guided wilderness adventure tour. Also, there’s a lot I’d like to know about nature. I’d love to sit at the feet of those who live off the land. Thanks for sharing, Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      Ha ha! Loud parties–YOU! Now I belly laughed. I don’t believe it for an instant. I like visiting the cities and sitting at the feet of city dwellers, Marianne. So much to learn! I once attended a wilderness survival class and learned that there is actually much wildlife in the cities and suburbs–yet most of it remains invisible. There are actually people who track and see animals in the busiest of cities. My daughter recently had a family of raccoons climb her fire escape. She was mesmerized and excited, although her boyfriend panicked. tee hee…

  46. Loved this post. Recently (2 weeks ago today), I was in MS visiting family. They knew our land had been clear cut, however, I had not viewed the end results. So off I traipse to the farm my sister and I still own….the family has owned since the 1830’s and was so traumatized by the devastation I could hardly breath; all the trees I had loved as a child across the road from the house….as far as one could see…no trees. I think I shall never go back again because I can hear the trees crying as they fell…What did we do to deserve this desecration after all these years of being.

    • Kathy says:

      My heart feels sad just reading your words. The cries of the precious trees… it is hard to see loved ones die like this. I do understand, Linda. Hugs. Tree hugs…

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