Mar 16 2013

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Last Woodlot Ramble

Posted at 7:43 am under Blog Post

WoodlotThere’s a woodlot on the edge of town that I like to visit whenever I’m the mood to wander about aimlessly without having to drive very far. When I was a child growing up in Ohio, I used to roam fallow fields and woodlots where few people ever went. Doing so nowadays takes me back to my roots.

The woodlot isn’t very big – no more than a half mile square if you count the adjoining fields full of briars and scrub. The heart of it is a cedar swamp of sorts where the water table is often just above the surface level. That’s why a day like yesterday is ideal for visiting the place. With no snow cover and temps just below freezing, walking is easy. All I have to do is follow animal tracks threading through saplings and downed trees.

Hares, chipmunks, squirrels and all sorts of birds live in this woodlot. I got up close and personal with a barred owl here a few years ago. I’ve chased deer out of these woods and spooked ruffed grouse more than once. My dog loves the place because there are lots of interesting smells. Aside from a homeless fellow who once resided here, I’ve never seen anyone in this woodlot. Yet all I have to do to access it is leave my car in a grocery store parking lot and follow a track through illegally dumped trash and into the trees.

Towards the end of my ramble yesterday, I heard the hum of heavy equipment in the distance. After following an ATV trail to a field where I usually pick up the track heading back to the parking lot, I saw something that rocked my world. A huge building had just been erected in the field and all kinds of construction vehicles were moving around the place. The brand new WalMart, of course. I forgot about that. Developers broke ground last fall, shortly after clearing the last legal hurdle. Progress. Soon everything around the woodlot will be developed – perhaps even the woodlot itself. Yeah, just like the Ohio of my childhood. That’s why designated wilderness areas and forest preserves are so important. The almighty dollar changes everything.


2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Last Woodlot Ramble”

  1. Bob Stantonon 17 Mar 2013 at 1:30 am 1

    Reading this post immediately put me in mind of an appropiate lyric, courtesy of Ohio native Chrissy Hynde , from the Pretenders “My City Was Gone” : “I went back to Ohio/ but my pretty countryside/ had been paved down the middle/ by a government that had no pride…the farms of Ohio/ have been replaced by shopping malls/ and Muzak filled the air/ from Seneca to Cuyahoga Falls..hey, oh, way to go, Ohio.” Too bad it’s happening damn near everywhere. I often lament the loss of places I frequented in younger years, places that now exist only in my memories.

  2. Deb Wingerton 18 Mar 2013 at 4:16 pm 2

    If not a Walmart, Ohio is being overrun by Dollar Stores and drug stores scattered everywhere. Now, Walmart is morphing all of their abandoned old stores into Rural Kings to run Tractor Supply stores out of business. It’s a sad time in the rural Midwest.