Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Dying Dock, Fragile Forest

I am thinking of rebuilding our dock next year. It has been ravaged by time and ice, freezing and thawing over years and years. It is tied together with rope, propped up with poles and held stable by boards shoved up into its innards. It is a larger dock than most, having been built before there was any guidance on what size docks were permissible on an Adirondack lake. It was originally part of a waterfront that included dozens of huge trees mounted as breakwalls, almost all of which have rotted away or been removed.

The waterfront also had a beautiful boat house with a number of slips and living quarters above. It was burned down around 1939 by tenants renting the house. They used the fireplace, which was filled with debris from squirrels and mice and other creatures, and was waiting for a spark to bring the whole thing down.

Speaking of fire, the property was originally called Burnt Point because a raging fire had destroyed most of the flora and fauna, the trees and the plants, that filled the peninsula. When the original camp was built at Penwood, there were few trees around it. Hemlocks were planted at the beginning of the 20th century to fill out and repopulate the land with trees. We have continued that tradition, now turing to white birches and river birches to replace many of the trees that have been lost to windstorms, weather, rot, decay. If I could, I would plant a thousand trees there - and wait for them to grow.

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