A Toast, To a Very Old Friend
The Holidays of course remind us of what is important, who and want matters to us. Nothing lasts forever, no matter its importance. I’m a big fan of trees, as anyone who read this blog will know. Though I appreciate all trees, I’ve got my favorites. The road from Gate 41 at the Quabbin Reservoir in Petersham, to the water is one of my favorite, very short walks because of one tree in particular.
It may not look like much, particularly in the winter. But a closer look at its branches gives one a sense of real strength, at least it does so for me. It’s circumference is way over six feet. You can’t really tell the age of a tree without examining it’s rings, but this tree is embedded in a stone fence in what was once the community of Storrsville, which was essentially abandoned by it’s occupants well before the Quabbin Reservoir was created in the 1930’s. I suspect this tree was not only there at the time, but was probably already old. A tree like this can be well over 150 years old, dating it back to the Civil War era. A close up view might explain my fondness for this big guy.
In the background you can see Rand Brook and on the other side of the brook is an old mill dating back well into the middle to early 1800’s. We have seen this tree in all sorts of weather and it is still very much open for business. Loaded with leaves in the summer. So of course, it was still loaded with leaves when the October 31 ice and snow storm hit, a storm that wreaked havoc on trees and power lines. And on our friend here.
Will it survive? I don’t know. That’s a big wound. My guess is that it will survive for at least a few more seasons, but wounds allow for infections. The Division of Conservation and Recreation who manage the Reservoir typically leave things wild unless fallen limbs block the road. You could tell that they had in fact sawed and moved off some of what fell. Beyond that, this wonderful old tree is probably on it’s own. I propose then a Holiday toast to what matters. Cheers.