Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Bright New Shiny Toy

My friend of many years, Catarina, came with me to visit Nana and Doc, in Wellfleet.
Of course, we had to eat lobsters the first night.  And yesterday, we stole Nana and Doc's new car and went for a spin.
We went to the beach, and then took a hike in the Audubon Sanctuary.  It would be difficult to exaggerate just how horrible the scenery is.  It has long been the contention of this blog that trees are dying from exposure to ozone, but even I am shocked.
The trees have very few leaves, and those that remain are brown.
The village looks like it has been hit with napalm.
I cannot understand how it is that people who see this are not frantic.
There isn't a healthy-looking tree anywhere.
Every single species of tree looks terrible, and this is equally true for big old trees and young saplings.
Catarina asked the cashier at the Audubon Sanctuary why all the pine trees are dying, and she wearily assured us that it's part of a natural cycle.  Oh yes!  The pine trees are dying because they are old, and they are being replaced by oaks.  Except this is what the oak leaves look like:
And it's not just oak, these sassafras leaves are damaged too.

Even leaves of water lilies are damaged, so it's very clear that it isn't too much water or too little water.

The pines on the dunes are pretty much all dead or dying.
The oak leaves are brown.

The spread of lichen is stunning.

Even poison ivy leaves are affected - turning color early, with brown edges and mottling.

From a distance the clumps of trees look like brown lumps in the landscape.

This red-tailed hawk just sat in the tree staring at us.  We got with four feet before it flew away.

The salt marsh grass is dying off, leaving mud behind.

Below is a zoom from the above view, where dead crowns are visible.

There is a pair of bald cypress in front of the municipal building.
They have both turned brown.
The hydrangea shrub is likewise fried.
This is Hatch's, the local fishmonger and produce stand.
The trees surrounding the parking lot are uniformly thin and brown.
We went to the Bookstore for oysters.
The trees in the back are typical.
But the oysters were delicious!
This little fox is so hungry she comes to eat seed spilt from the bird feeder behind Nana and Doc's house, right in front of us.
Honestly I am so horrified by the condition of the trees here that I have nothing else to say.


  1. The only silver lining in this cloud is that firewood is everywhere. I'll be able to take the wheelbarrow into the woods and fill it up with fallen branches that are dried and ready for the wood stove.

    Wood heat until the trees run out.

    Feed the wild animals in your neighborhood.

    raccoons at night part 1

    raccoons at night part 2
    (actually the next night)


  2. Yup - I told my parents they should put out some dog food for that poor fox.

  3. This weekend saw my first patch of dead trees by the acre. Absolutely indubitably dead, bare and bleached white. Other viewers could still insist they were dormant, or that it was just this weather.
    Near Dousman, Wisconsin.
    Midwest is mostly not so advanced in decline as the East Coast, the outcome is past doubt.

  4. My favorite response, when I point out to someone that a tree is dying, is when they say, "But, it still has some leaves!"

  5. wow, thats the worst ive seen anywhere. Pretty scary. Think we all may not live much longer.

  6. I'm not sure that irony is really that appropriate any more, but this still makes me laugh :


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