If it’s big enough it shakes the ground with the sound of tearing and crunching. Then comes the thump. The bigger ones may bounce once before coming to a full rest. It’s a site to see these once living giants fall, seemingly in slow motion, finally hitting the ground sending a dust cloud into the surrounding air.
Earlier this year 33 dead trees were removed from The Golden K. It’s a sad reality of living in the mountains after five years of drought and the dreaded Bark Beetles who take advantage of the water starved pines. The beetles bore into the trees and the trees are unable to generate the necessary sap to push them out. The beetles reproduce in the inner bark of the tree and this eventually kills the tree from the inside out.
The Golden K is not worse off for losing that many trees. There are still 110 pine trees, dozens of majestic Oaks, and a plethora of Cedars and Manzanita. In the long run the thinning of the pines will be better for the surviving trees.
So over a period of five days we watched our 33 dead soldiers fall and hit the ground. It was interesting to say the least as we watched the expert crew plan and prepare for each tree falling leading up to the chain saw cuts that send the tree to the ground.
Our 33 pines are only a blip on the map of the tens of millions of trees that have died and must be taken down. It’s a sad situation for those of us who are connected with the beauty of the mountains. Only time will tell what the impact will be to that mountain landscape.
Thankfully, the landscape of The Golden K is much the same. The thrash (all the limbs and branches) was all taken away but we were left with all the “wood” which was stacked up in “decks”. We’ll need to do something with them eventually but for now they remain as a symbol of the fragile balance of life and death and as a reminder of my romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.
Holly balancing life on one of the tree decks