By: Jim Fitzpatrick

Local Farmer in Polkton Township writes for the Coopersville Observer.

Along Brandy Creek

By Jim Fitzpatrick


The Coopersville Observer  October 4, 2004- - No. 38

An ancient ash leans heavily over the steep banks of Jewel Creek, along 88th Avenue. The tree is very old, large, and dead. It's upper most branches are obvious above the canopy of the ten acre, late summer woods. Barren, leafless, fingers of old wood, pierce the early dawn air; high over the dripping dew soaked foliage below.


A green tractor's diesel engine idles at the edge of the woodlot. From the rear of the unattended machine, a cable has been attached. The stretched steel wire extends upward at an angle and into the trees, vanishes from sight within. The loop at the opposite end reaches into the woods and strangles the old tree several feet above the ground. A chainsaw can be heard grinding it's teeth into years and years of annual growth rings at the base of the dead tree. There is a slight trembling among the lifeless branches overhead as the cut deepens. A brief snap and crack from within the tree trunk echoes along the creek bank. Then, a momentary clatter of old branches, as the notch on the stump closes slightly - then stops. The noise of the chainsaw ceases. The huge tree continues to hold its own to the last moment. Finally, the tractor moves forward, the cable tightens even more. The old monarch of the creek bank crashes to the ground; taking with it several other smaller standing trees, into a dismal tangle of branches and leaves.


After a hundred years and more, this sentinel of the creek bank is removed from the forest as fire wood. Only the massive stump remains, leaving a sunfilled vacancy on the hillside that will soon be occupied by the surrounding growth of hardwoods.

Previous          Next