Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Southern Vermont Surprise

Though not an image of a Vermont forest, I'm confident many there look like this.
Image online here

I found myself on the back of a motorcycle, with my real-world photographer friend, Eric, driving.  We traveled from western Massachusetts to an old-growth forest near Bennington, in southwestern Vermont.  After much trail riding, and walking, we found our destination: a fairly impressive series of waterfalls.

A good reference for the dreamscape:  the famous Bash Bish Falls in Mt. Washington, MA.

It was early winter, or nearly so.  Brown crunchy leaves blanketed the ground, branches were bare, with no snow to be seen.  Since it was winter, water barely flowed down the cliffs of the falls.  At their base, the streambed widened significantly for several hundred feet downstream.  Nests, most very large, perched among and atop the rocks; even in crevices in the face of the cliff.  They numbered in the dozens at least.

Most nests looked similar to this. 
Image online here

Eric informed me this was a rookery, though obviously not currently in use.  He brought me there, however, because it was a special one.  This was the oldest known to be in continuous use.  According to him, the first European settlers to the area made note of it more than three hundred years ago; although it was probably much older.

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) on cliffside nest; a common locale.

He said several species used the rookery:  Blue Jay, American Crow, Northern Raven and even Broad-winged Hawk and other forest hawks.  Clearly this kind of arrangement wouldn't happen in real-life. Upon learning the amazing history of this location I was struck with awe, nearing reverence.  I took in the scene again, slowly scanning the nursery and its abundance of nests.  I unsuccessfully attempted to take it all in; that ineffable something-much-bigger-than-myself feeling of the place. 
Wanton environmental degradation - Yay!...  NOT!

Just then a couple of younger folk roared up the trail on four-wheel ATVs.  For the record, I'm not a fan. I flagged the first rider down, signaling for him to stop.  I emphatically recounted the story Eric had just told me, and asked him to respect this place by giving it a wide berth.  I also asked him to pass this information along to his friends and anyone else he knew who rode through there.  To my surprise he listened to my rant, and agreed to do as asked. 
The dream ended with Eric and I hiking back to the bike and riding south back to the Berkshires.


1 comment:

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