On my First Day walkabout at Topsmead this morning, I took stock of the state of the landscape to see how all things Topsmead were looking for the start of 2023. DEEP staff and FTSF volunteers have been hard at work. Many corners of the landscape are cleaned up and tidy, ready for what winter will bring. Other corners are still making plenty of work for the DEEP clean-up crew.
The main driveways are outlined with snow markers ready for the arrival of the winter snowshoe and cross-country ski crowd. The parking area upgrade is finished, with its low-visibility expansion and newly installed wooden borders that define the line between the adjoining fields and parked cars. The house and butterfly gardens are peacefully a-slumber for the winter beneath their earthen blanket. Outbuildings and barns are shuttered up tight except for those that house the winter clean up machines and equipment.
A closer look at the pond reveals that its edges are undergoing a quick cleaning project before the absolute freeze of winter sets in. Piles of cut lilies are mounded around the pond, ready to be taken away and composted.
Another look around reveals that the intense, pre-Christmas rains and high winds brought down pine trees near the parking area and hardwoods along the stonewall by the white farmhouse. The fresh, yellow chainsaw cuts on the trunks of these downed trees are evidence that the DEEP clean up crew is on the job.
Perhaps Mother Nature thought she was doing us a favor by enlisting the destructive force of her winds to knock down trees and break off tree limbs that were already weak. In her mind, why not bring them all down at once so they can be cleaned up in one fell swoop before winter truly arrives? Why not, indeed?
I am reminded of what my mother used to say: Wind is Nature’s pruning device. Well, thank you, Mother Nature, for your tough-love pruning that has motivated us to get our landscape in order before the icy fingers of winter arrive.
Instead of being upset with Mother Nature for her weather ups and downs, her freezes and thaws, and her seeming destruction, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and believe that she has just been making sure that we take the time to attend to the last tidying up details of 2022 so that we can go into 2023 clean and clutterless, ready for what the new year will bring.