Culture

Acorns and All

The farm through the woods lets the horses loose to run, and I love being outside when it happens; seeing them flash through the trees as they gallop up the hill. This time of year, when the trees between us stand dormant and naked, it’s easy to see them as they run. When the leaves fill in the flash fades from view but I’ll often hear them whinnying to each other and I’m left imagining their joyful charge. When the horses run I’m reminded why I stay in this place.

The snow is long gone in Southern New Hampshire. All that’s left now is the fallen branches and a million acorns from a bumper crop that fell relentlessly last November. March brings cleanup work and assessment of damage done. Raking those acorns up yesterday I watched the moon rising above the trees. The moon seemed in a hurry to get above it all, and her progress was better than my acorn cleanup. But eventually I got it done, feeling a bit better about the state of things outside. Other neighbors without oak trees don’t have to deal with acorns, but I’ll take the oak trees and live with the trade-off, thank you. It felt good to be outside doing something anyway. I just wish they would be a bit less giving in return.

Woodpeckers duel for loudest drumbeat on trees out in the woods, and the Mourning Doves sing their sad songs to each other. Their population seems to be increasing at a pace similar to the wild turkeys that roam the woods and spill over into the yard now and then. A mild winter seems to have helped the local wildlife. I know that means the tick population will thrive as well. The human population of Southern New Hampshire grows as developers snap up open space. Maybe the wildlife is just being pushed closer because their natural habitat is shrinking. Hard for me to tell for sure, but it seems related. I know the woods will remain protected but I wonder about the horse farm. I’ll know it’ll be time to move when they develop it. I have no patience for encroachment but I’m a realist. Unchecked development will change this place too. I’m grateful for the good, put up with the bad and wonder about the world as we try to mold it to fit our needs. For my part I’ll keep the oak trees, acorns and all, and hope whoever settles here after me has the same sense of wonder about the world around us.

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