Pileated Maple.. Maybe

There’s an old, dying tree out back that was old and dying when I bought this place a few years ago.

It’s upright and alright –
but this tree has decayed

to the point where it can’t be identified.
However, I would assume

it’s in the maple family
based on its size and what’s growing around it

Though it’s not exact on a land survey, this relic of a tree represents the eastern most corner of my property – and, if we’re anywhere out back, in the winter months, when the trees are bare – it makes for the perfect landmark to help us find our way back up to the house.

I assume it would serve the same purpose in the warmer months, when the trees are plump with pride, but we don’t head out that way too much then as it’s a haven for Copperhead snakes.

But don’t let me dissuade you from heading out there if you’re ever here. All it takes is me charting a course through there with an industrial brush cutter and we’ll be on Golden Pond; or – in this case – the banks of the Hubbard Brook.

My industrial brush cutter
is up at the cabin in VT
and is going to be a bear to bring back down
unless I can revive it.
Which I most certainly can.
It’s just a
want to do
and not a
need to do
right now.


My view from my bed through my bedroom window is quite fantastic – the focal point of which is this rotting tree. It’s a pin. It’s a geographic center about 150 feet from where I lay my head and dream my dreams.

And there’s so much going on around it and on it, but I rarely get a chance to catch any of the action during the day, as I am up and about with the sun and back to the pillows after sunset.

But this past Saturday, I had done enough for the day and hopped into bed somewhere before 730pm. So – if anything was going to happen in the yard, on that tree – or anywhere out there, in the beyond – I had the perfect view.

And as if were planned, the Pileated Woodpecker who had made that tree its canvas, returned within minutes of me paying attention.

I had first seen this bird – on this tree – last fall – from the top of the yard, where I only saw its back and assumed it was either bear cub or some sort of other something I had yet to identify – as it’s too large to be a bird, by design; the pileated woodpecker.


These birds, have the ability to remove a considerable amount of material with each peck. So, as I lay there, I watched as sawdust was kicked up, and large chunks of layered, dying, and drying wood fell to the ground.

This went on for about an hour – around the tree, up and down – in and about – all in search of some sort of worm or grub. Meanwhile, mere feet away, were probably a nest of snakes laying in wait that would have made a much more fulfilling meal.

It’s quite inspiring to watch this massive bird goto work. It’s not so much a path of destruction, as it is a dance. I mean, there has to be a level of finesse to it, right? This big feathered creature has to have a plan in order to be so exact.

I could go on wondering for days, but I’ll just wait for my next opportunity to observe.

And at that,
I’m thankful I was done with my day
and got to experience all of this,
in proximity.

Published by Ragged

I’m here in the now, trying to experience life while living it...

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