Saturday, March 21, 2009

Triangular Forest

The last few years I lived in Frostburg I gravitated towards the Carey Run Bird Sanctuary just outside of town in Garrett county. The reason for going there wasn't to see, hear, or think about birds. The destination was a walk through what a handful of us called the mathematical forest. No doubt the result of an effort to reforest an area previously logged or mined, the mathematical forest was a beautifully sloped 10-12 acre stand of the most unnatural stand of pines trees.

Todd in the Mathematical Forest, 2004

Stumbling upon the forest unaware was similar to walking through my first strip mine. It was close to the highway but always dead quiet. A monoculture is a very quiet place- being within one is like being somewhere where everyone is so similar they don't have anything to say to one another. The floor of this forest was blanketed with a thick mulch of pine needles and a fern-ish rhizome that I've never tried to identify.

By the looks of Google's satellite images, a lot of the mathematical forest is gone.
I've circled what is left of it.

Trolling Google maps a few weeks ago I came across this stand of trees not far from our apartment. The invisible-from-the-ground shape of this stand of trees (feminine, no?) hemmed in by CSX tracks on all sides- no doubt promised some kind of magic similar to that of the mathematical forest.

What a treat then that when I showed friends Matt and Kendall this picture Matt suggested we head over there after lunch. We walked over and entered at the Northwestern point of the triangle and traversed nearly all of it.

That's all I'm saying. There's more- a lot more- but for now it gestates. The next time I go there it'll work itself out a little bit more. There is a triangulation here. One of mathematical and triangular forests, strip mines and walks with friends. Come visit and we'll go for a walk.

1 comment:

Chris Freeman said...

I love Richmond secrets! I was so excited when I found the hidden alley parks in the fan. Next time I'm in town...