Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Peat Land


The squatting tree, a landmark on the way to the western flank of the great wetland, is flowing once more. I don't think I need to explain why it has been given this name. It appears to drain the ephemeral waters of the back swale into the great wetland. 


I spot the fluffy white tail of a deer, although nothing more. Probably taken down by coyotes, or scavenged by them, this disembodiment leaves me to reflect on the intimacy of the woods, its sheltering of life and death.



About to cross the once sound, but now quite risky, sawed log, timber beam and pallet bridge. It will need be the first of several woodland structures to be upgraded if we (or any interlopers, coyote included) want to keep crossing with dry feet.


On the other side, more remains.



And nettle, stinging nettle. The western flank of the great wetland is over run with nettle.



It is also a hummocky, low lying peat land of a couple of acres.



I have a general understanding of how peat is formed, but here it is a bit of a mystery. My guess is that it formed when the great wetland was even wetter, covering this flatland at the edge of the slope with water and limiting decomposition of organic matter. As the wetland filled with sediment and organic matter and the water table lowered somewhat, the peat became exposed and the trees and shrubs began taking hold.



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