Tales from Pecos River Cabins Cottonwoods Spring 2020
Do not speak to me of Cottonwoods in Spring. Plentiful on the property, beloved for shade and habitat. This time of year they create extra work and nuisance. First come the swelling leaf buds encased in a sticky, sharp-ended, hard casing. As the leaves swell this casing pops and falls to the ground, where it sticks to decks, the patio furniture, on windshields, on the cat. In short, everywhere. This is followed by the “snows of May and June”. The flowering phase during which catkin-like flowers produce tiny, red blooms resulting in masses of seeds with a cottony cover. The cotton floats and flies in the breeze, often falling so rapidly it looks like snow and adheres annoyingly well on window screens.
Two Cottonwoods, Grand Dames, stood sentinel at the north gate for a century. Age, lightning, traffic, drought, all took their toll. Twisted, leaning with age, cracking and randomly dropping huge limbs, gravity was winning this contest. The question became whether they were coming down on my terms or theirs.
The day these trees witnessed their last dawn, a large number of birds perched on their branches singing to the world their displeasure at this impending loss. I shared their despair, as I shall never see, in my lifetime, replacement trees reach this size and grandeur.
Brought safely to earth by “masters of their craft” crane operator and tree crew, the wood from these two giants shall warm us multiple times as we sort, haul, buck, split, and stack the wood. Next winter and the one to follow, the wood stove shall merrily blaze as the cottonwood releases a century of memories and witness.
For now, the north entrance feels oddly exposed, the displeasure of the birds felt still, the final chapter for these grand old trees my decision.
So do not speak to me of cottonwoods this Spring, for my heart is heavy with goodbye.
Advice from a Tree—Georgia Green
Stand tall and proud
Go out on a limb
Remember your roots
Drink plenty of water
Be content with your natural beauty
Be still enough to hear your own leaves rustle
Enjoy the view
Thanks for checking in!
From the east bank of the Upper Pecos,