DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream: <!..../> .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Loss of Iconic Trees

The recent band of violent storms that went through southern Ontario  caused a lot a damage, most notably the destruction of a truly iconic silver maple tree in Toronto.  It has been know as the tree that was the inspiration of the wonderful anthem,  "The Maple Leaf Forever" which was written, by Alexander Muir, a local teacher, at the time of Confederation. I remember singing it often as a child along with "God Save the Queen".  Our official National Anthem is "O Canada".  I remember fondly the tune of "The Maple Leaf Forever" but it's lyrics are of a different time and place. It is a celebration of British Imperialism  and settlement of North America. It is out of step with the bilingual./ multicultural country Canada has become.

This is the "Maple Leaf Forever" Silver Maple tree

The loss of this Silver Maple tree got me thinking about the relatively recent loss of other iconic trees.  The most striking of these was the Golden Spruce on Haida Gwaii, sacred to the Haida Nation.  It was vandalized and cut down.

Other iconic trees lost in recent years was the last first generation tree of the original Macintosh apple. It was discovered growing as a wild apple in Eastern Ontario. It was better than other apples so the Macintosh grew it reproduced it and cloned it. It came to be the most popular eating and baking apple in Eastern North America. Several varieties were developed from it including my favourite when I lived in Connecticut, the Macoun. The last first generation tree was on the farm next to the Macintosh farm which is still a family apple farm.

Then there is the Kirkwood Giant White Pine tree that was in the Kirkwood Forest near Thessalon.  It laid claim to the tallest tree in Ontario, nearly 50 meters high., A storm brought it down after growing there for over 355 years.

There are iconic trees of all varieties in Ontario, by  age and variety.  They actually keep track of these things.  There is even a Facebook site where you can post pictures of great trees. Some of these pictures remind me to the loss of Elm trees of my youth to Dutch Elm Disease. To day we are faced with the loss of Ash Trees due to the Ash Bore Beetle and most devastating is the eventual loss of Pine Trees across the continent to the Pine Beetle.

There are also iconic stands of tree under threat.  The largest stand of red pine are not far from where I live. They are around Jack Lake a lovely lake with petroglyph drawing on the rocks. The right to cut them was owned by a local saw mill when I Ministry of Natural Resource technician recognized their unique nature. He recognized this site be protected from logging. Unfortunately, they have allowed a mining exploration effort go on dangerously close to them.  North of here is the largest old grown forest stand of White Pines in the Temagami region. The local aboriginal community see this as a sacred place. It is vulnerable to logging still.Time will tell.  I learned long ago that there is a unique stand of Red Spruce within the boundary of Algonquin Park. I wish I had known this before I paddle right past it without knowing years ago. Sometimes one should get off the water and into the forest.

Just where we thought we knew everything about forest in Ontario they discovered a rare forest along the Niagara Escarpment, (over which Niagara Falls, falls) which runs from Niagara Falls to Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron.  Along part of the Escarpment in the midst of  the most populated part of Ontario, they discovered the oldest trees in Ontario, possibly North America. They are scrub white cedar clinging to the escarpment. The oldest identified so far dates from 688 AD.  This remarkable forest was right in front of our eyes and we only recently learned of it's rarity. This story can be found here.

Park if the Niagara Escarpment.

Change is coming to our forest due to climate change.  We should love our trees and forests while we can. In particular we should continue to replant the urban forests of our cities. These are very important for many reasons from the aesthetic, to animal habitat, to using up carbon monoxide and giving off oxygen to keeping us cooler.  We can never have too many trees in the city. There is much destruction of trees in storms and development that the planting and protection of trees is a major concern of cities that want to improve the habitability  of itself.

Do you have a favourite of iconic tree?


At 11:53 a.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

When I played the song, I saw the Canadian Ensign and that it became defunct in 1922. That sent me scurrying to Google because I had a flag when I was a kid, a fairly big one -- relatively speaking. Anyway, I now know that there was one ensign from 1868 - 1921 and another from 1921 - 1965. I also remember that a lot of people weren't pleased to have it replaced by the current flag. I was not among them, and I don't think too many would want to go back now.

At 12:33 p.m., Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I too think we have one of the best and most distinctive flags. A am surprised to read the "O Canada" is considered one of the best National Anthems. I have yet to learn all the words of it. They keep tinkering with the words, I think. I know all the words to the American "Negro National Anthem" Go figure. Too many years of living in black communities in the US. It does move me emotionally!

At 12:33 p.m., Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 7:57 a.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

They did change the words at one time, but since I used to hear it every morning, it eventually sunk in. You could sing it to Heidi and the kitties every morning. :)

At 1:30 p.m., Blogger KGMom said...

Philip--interesting that you know the "Negro National Anthem"--it has a most tortuous tune and is not easy to sing. I know most of "Nkosi Sikele Afrika" (which was the unofficial S. African anthem while Nelson Mandela was in prison). And of course I know "God Save the Queen."
National anthems are interesting--the U.S. one is also nearly unsingable. I would prefer Woody Guthrie's classic "This Land is Your Land."
I love the melody to the former German national anthem "Deutschland Uber Alles" (or "Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken"). Very sad that the Nazis and Hitler soured that forever for us.
Iconic tree? Almost any tree, truthfully, as I would easily qualify as a tree-hugger. I love the baobab trees of southern Africa. And also the lovely acacia trees with their graceful spread. And the jacaranda trees with its luscious purple blossoms.

At 9:03 a.m., Blogger judie said...

Interesting read about the trees. My favorite is all of them. I'm a tree hugger, a tree listener, a tree admirer. Your cabin slide show is great. I saw some scenes there I would have loved to paint, if I were still doing landscape painting. The only thing missing was Heidi. :)

At 5:47 p.m., Blogger troutbirder said...

Loved the background to the McIntosh. I have one in my yard and for apple pies it is the best!

At 9:07 a.m., Blogger Owen Gray said...

We have been having very strong winds in our part of the country, Philip. And each time we have a storm, we lose some pretty large trees.

At 12:49 p.m., Blogger possum said...

Trees... I, too, am a tree hugger and love almost all of them. We have some thorny ones here I am not too fond of. It broke my heart a few years ago when my neighbor and I had to have our big piney woods cut down. Pine bark beetle. They are back, tallest ones are over 20 feet now... I treasure them.
Macintosh is my absolute favorite apple, even for eating, but especially for baking. The things they pass off as Macintosh in the grocery store today are but a shadow of the Macs from my childhood. I laugh when local growers claim they are growing Macintosh apples here - It does not get cold enough long enough to grown a mac.
Another favorite tree is the Flamboyant tree of the British West Indies. What a tree!
Enjoyed the post.
Oh, I LOVE the Canadian flag and have several T-shirts with the big red maple leaf on them. Sometimes I wear them after elections here, if you know what I mean. sigh.

At 8:10 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

I guess it's Nature doing her thing but it is so sad to see those trees succumb to it. I often look at trees as I drive along and realize they have been here before I was and will probably be there when I'm gone! It tends to put life in perspective.

At 10:33 a.m., Blogger possum said...

I shared your post with a friend who remembered when my pine trees were cut down. She reminded me of the day before we left (I could not bear to watch the slaughter of the trees) as I walked thru my property hugging as many of my trees as I could get to good-bye. I cried for hours doing this... I had lots of trees... and was sorry I could not get to them all (poison ivy, briars, etc)

At 11:50 a.m., Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

If one misses the loss of trees one could plant trees for the future. I have planted 12,000 trees on my property, mainly along the mile frontage I have on the river. I have enjoyed watching them grow from seedling to some being 20 feet tall. I have also watched an unstable steep bank of the river as it naturally regenerated itself. Now, after 30 years is a steep but stable with many healthy young trees growing on it.

At 3:26 p.m., Blogger Tim Jet said...

In northern Wisconsin, white pine is the king of the old growth forests. This was the tree that was logged after the United States Fast Growing Tree Nursery

At 10:51 p.m., Blogger lori west said...

Just read your blog "Tossing Pebbles ..." I was searching info on the Great Fire of 1916 in Matheson where my great grandparents lived and heard stories from my grandmother. I saw the art work and recalled my grandfather passing the baby to the mother in the Lake. This lead to your blog. I love the woods. Thank you for the info on trees. You spoke of Urban forests and I agree. Having travelled Europe and saw so few trees in the Urban Centres. Friends from Italy and Germany and England are all drawn to just how many trees we have in Toronto or Brampton. Do you still blog?


Post a Comment

<< Home