Friday morning, June 15, 2010
When an old orchard is wrenched out by the roots, new views break wide open. From Novotny Road this summer, where a damaging early spring storm made replacing large blocks of trees a priority, suddenly the prospect to the west and north encompasses a series of hills, North Lake Leelanau, more hills, wide, cool Lake Michigan, and North Manitou Island. Tractors are busy this morning on the old orchard land, filling the brisk wind with sweet-smelling dust. Old trees bulldozed into bonfire-sized piles await better burning weather, while for now the tractors work to cultivate the open land around the giant brush piles, and, with front-end loaders, remove boulders brought up by the old tree roots, piling them at land and road corners. Gulls come eagerly to forage in the freshly turned earth. Beep-beep-beep goes the tractor, backing up.
A couple of Friesian horses graze contentedly in a nearby pasture, their burnished coats warm in color, sheen of light gleaming on their haunches. Ears flick, tails swish. Between orchard and pasture a row of mature cottonwoods rustles continuously. Everything is in calm motion, some but not all of it purposeful. A monarch, for example, half-flutters by, tumbled in the wind.
Leaves rustle, gulls cry.
Along the pasture fence blooms bladder campion, petals and stamens reaching out from each open-ended, balloon-like, almost translucent, veined calyx. It is only a weed, but its numbers are legion, and each individual plant is as much a miracle of intricacy as the bodies of the horses in the pasture.