Saturday, October 27, 2012
|photo by Jonathan Schechter, October 2012|
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan
A storm churning off Lake Michigan pushed at my back and sent shifting sands against my neck as
I trudged from the shore and dunes back to my campsite in a woodland of evergreens and oaks.
During my two mile trek I smiled at an up close encounter with a buck and my heart raced at the sight of
fresh coyote tracks in the sand and the rapid flight of a Cooper's hawk.
But what snared my attention the most was a young sapling of an oak pushing up through the sands a
few hundred yards from the nearest oak. I suspect strong shifting winds rolled the acorns across
the leeward side of the dunes and set the stage for the woodland to march closer to our great inland
freshwater sea. But I also wondered just how many of the scattered seedlings would make it until
spring 2013 or the next year or the next.
Nothing like a seedling to nourish a rabbit or snowshoe hare when winter arrives.
And as Aldo Leopold once mused the seedlings that survive are the products of rabbit scarcity or rabbit
neglect. I made it back to my tent 20 minutes before the rains came and then for the next 12 hours of
downpours I had the gifted luxury to ponder on many things with no interference from the outside world.
The rabbits and the acorns and the giant oaks were just one of those things.
A very good day it was.