Nature in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike

In my daily walks with our dogs I travel a route through the woods behind our house along a pipeline right of way then along Mustang Bayou to anther pipeline right of way and back home.The trip if I wanted to hurry it would not take much over 10 or 15 minutes. I never hurry…If the sun is out, there is a bit of grass at the end of the first right of way right at the top of the bayous bank where I like to sit and meditate. The dogs spend some of their time running through the woods and some of it sitting by me…The walk takes much longer than necessary because tend to stop and get involved with looking…At what, you may ask…The answer could be anything that catches my eye. Leaves, birds, bark, animals, snakes…Anything at all.

This past week my interest hasn’t been caught by a thing…It’s been cost by an absence. Or rather, a number of absences. I don’t know if this is only relevant to my little set of woods or if it’s more widespread. What I have begun to notice is how the edges are missing. I don’t know how many of you are aware of the edges around you, but since the winds of Ike our edges seem to be missing. Usually, when I walk around my woods, I don’t see into the woods. The briars and the brambles grow up along the edges and block the view. Not this year.

In the past, the first thirty or so feet into the woods were overgrown. You would find wild roses, dewberries, Texas privet, youpon holly, Russian olive, and assorted grasses and “weeds” all within that first few yards. After that the undergrowth would begin to thin except where you found a downed tree. This year almost all of those plants are missing. What you see are lots of plant debris all over the ground.

Also missing are the fruits. No acorns, no pecans, no red or orange berries on the hollies. Even the black berries on the wild lantana are looking pretty desiccated this year. If the weather ever really turns cold down here the birds and the wildlife are going to be pretty hungry.

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