Saturday, October 27, 2012

An acorn, a seedling; rabbits and hares: Nature's dance!

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.


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