There are may pleasures that come with working day in, day out in a wild forest. High on the list is our visceral engagement with the forests’ many faces and ever changing seasons. We enjoy keeping track of the interesting questions that people ask about the life in the forests. One common question is: “what is your favorite season in the forests?”. Perhaps I sound like the kindergarten teacher wanting every student to be a winner, but I am sincere in explaining that there are many wonderful things to look forward to in every season.
This fall, as daylight shortens, temperatures drop, rain gear fails to completely dry overnight, and dark rains become progressively more welcomely common, I am struck by how much I enjoy this time of year. Gone are the days of worrying about the express growth of blackberries overwhelming everything, or the whole place burning up, or working in next to no clothing and still being hot beside dry, silent creek beds.
Good forestry is as much about death and decay as it is about birth and growth. This is a good season to observe and learn from that. Rot abounds – and is an essential part of our forests’ health and productivity.
As a reminder of that, here is a shot of bright fungi having their way on oak in our sawmill log deck. Rot on! But please give me a few more good years before I also become food for the forest.