Monday, September 06, 2004

The wind in wet oak trees

We camped at Cox Hollow in Governor Dodge park. The name misleads: the campground is actually on a ridge above the valley, and consequently almost mosquito-free. I destroyed a number of tent stakes trying to penetrate the packed gravel the parks must inflict on campsite, but the ferocious thunderstorm that night proved that I hadn't gotten the tents taut enough. We lay there listening to the dripping of rain and of twigs torn off the tree tops high above us, punctuated by the ranger's bull horn warning of the the violent storm we were already in the middle of (and which stopped as we drove to the ranger station to learn the forecast).

As we toweled out the tents the next morning I found that oaks and hickory trees hold rain very well. In pine forests you can hear the sighing of a gust of wind far away, and the sighing sweeps closer, is upon you, and away. Among the oaks, you hear the patter of rain far away, rain closer, and then--you realize that the rain is just droplets shaken from the tree tops hitting leaves halfway down, with a few large ones splattering around you for a moment or two. And a few nuts fall too, just to keep you on your toes.

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