Today I noticed that a poplar tree in the park just north of my property line had several dead branches on it. A storm with tornado like winds had uprooted that tree many years ago and it has remained leaning over our shed ever since, looking as thought it might topple over. I thought that I must phone the City of Winnipeg municipal office to have that tree removed. I turned to check our garden. The Haskap berries were already harvested and eaten. Our Evans Cherry trees were heavily laden with cherries but not yet ripe.
Then I heard a repeated rat a tat tat. Over and over again coming from the poplar tree. I turned around to look and there was a small grey and white bird hammering away on one of those dead limbs. It had a flat head and long beak and I watched it hammer away. It is my first time seeing a woodpecker and I was mesmerized. Watching that bird obtain its food...I realized that there must be insects in that rotting wood. And I was wanting to have that food source removed. The bird that could help stop the spread of the emerald borer as well as other borer insects.
Surely that bird a messenger from the creator of all life. To remind me of the importance of those dead branches in the web of life. To remind me as well of my ignorance of nature’s ways and of my place. The City will come to remove that tree when a worker notices its lifeless branches. But I will not call. By rights, that tree should fall and be a feast for insects, birds and fungi and return to earth with its nutrients to provide food for a myriad of life and to enrich the soil. Thank you woodpecker for your lesson! You have reminded me to be humble in my relationship with nature. May we all learn to live in harmony with you, for that is truly our only hope for a future on this planet
Manitoba is where I was born and where I have spent most of the five and one half decades of my life. I lived on the outskirts of the town of Portage La Prairie at a time when tadpoles and frogs inhabited the ditches and ponds, when there were many Monarch butterflies each summer along with dragon flies and grasshoppers. Redwing blackbirds perched the cattails of the ditches. As children we picked dandelions for bouquets and made wishes before blowing dandelion seed heads. We searched clover for lucky four leaves and rolled on the grass…there was no concern of poisonous herbicides. The grass was thick. Wherever we dug…there were earthworms