It is mid-September and time to identify and mark the standing dead trees in the woods. This fall we are cutting and splitting wood to burn in the winter of 2016-17.
Identifying standing dead is easiest when leaves are on the trees, so I schedule this task when the weather cools enough to settle the mosquitoes somewhat.
For the tree identification walk, I prepare to spend a lot of time looking up, looking for trees without any leaves and trees that have shed their tiniest branches.
Of course, I must also watch where I'm walking. For this is the time of year for spiderwebs. Floating leaves are everywhere in the woods--and I know they aren't magical, they're signs of spiderwebs.
It's also the time of year when burrs are best at grabbing clothing and hanging on.
I soon discover that I don't have to spend my walk looking upward. For the emerald ash borer has hit our woods. Many ash trees are dead; many will be dead by next year. I only have to look for the borer's holes in the trunk.
As I walk, I find dozens of dead trees with little effort. But I take no joy in this. I am left to wonder how the woods will change, how it will adapt in the coming years.