just like some people,
enchant you so deeply.
What about them intrigued you?
Sometimes its the sheer size
which may attract you.
It is often the old ones that people pay attention to.
Grandfathers and Grandmothers
Arboreal elders that have stood in place
long before our european ancestors came
to colonize the soil these trees grew in.
Introspection may only deepen when
such trees dwarf our historic sites
with their age and their size.
You may be familiar with one of these historic landmarks.
Perhaps during one of your Festival du Voyageur celebrations
or a visit in summer to Fort Gibraltar
you took note of it.
An American Elm (Ulmus americana)
estimated to be over 300 years old.
(The fort was first built 200 years ago)
rise to a feel of those old fur trader days.
It is easy to begin imagining what stories the fort held.
And then i saw the elm....
Towering over the wooden fort walls with its majestic canopy.
The real wonder is what stories that Elm held.
I had meant to climb it for years.
I love climbing trees that give unique perspective.
Sitting hidden in the higher branches you can
quickly become very contemplative.
There are so many trees on my climbing list
that I still had not gotten up this one
until one morning on an exploration along the river
I saw the City of Winnipeg's notorious
mark of death...
part of the bark but there it was...
The orange dot marking the tree for removal
due to infection with Dutch Elm Disease
condemned healthy Elms to their untimely demise
due to false diagnosis or mistake.
So, one of my climbing partners and I decided to enjoy the view
while we still could and look for signs of the disease ourselves
while we were up there.
The October morning was sunny and crisp.
The absolute perfect climbing day!
I had my thermos filled with some delicious coffee
from the local 'cafe postal' and we headed up.
The view was amazing!
The fort displayed its inner secrets beneath us and on the horizon
we could see downtown, the river and the human rights museum.
As we enjoyed the coffee aloft I wondered about what
all this tree had witnessed through its life
from seed long before the first white fur traders
to the majestic form it now took in our modern age.
When you climb trees for a living and your life
literally is 'hanging from a limb' you learn to take care
of which branches you choose to put your rope over.
You develop an intuition that manifests
as more of a 'feel' about the health and integrity
of the tree and the branches you choose to tie into.
A healthy Elm is normally very fibrous and bendy and
will tear long before it would snap.
This elm however had the feeling of being very brittle.
Decline and beetle activity were evident when we got into the canopy
and it was clear that this tree was in trouble.
Apparently a lot had been done already to try and maintain
its health but the Orange dot of death would remain
and the tree would be cut down in the winter.
were aware of this Elm's historic and cultural significance
and honored it with fireworks and adorning
it with some artistic lights which highlighted its beauty.
It is important that we notice trees.
Trees reflect so much to us about our own lives.
One thing they can teach us is to look up and notice the beauty around us.
Most people do not realize how much they appreciate trees.
Most people do not realize how much they appreciate the
other beautiful people and things in their own lives
until they are gone...