Marcy Woods – Fort Erie’s Prized Nature Setting
To walk in the woods this Fall such as Marcy’s brings peace of mind. Thank you Dino DiCienzo Sr., present owner and the late Dr. George Marcy for this continued privilege.
“Cast cares aside and solace find.
This is no place to plot and scheme
But a place to think perchance to dream.”
No Hamlet I, but on walks in Marcy Woods I often stop and look and perchance to dream. One blustery day the winds sweep down through beginning from tree to tree along the edge of the great forested sand dunes to my right. The big hemlocks to my left hardly move despite the increasing force.
The trees around me and above on the slopes and crest are leafless skeletons. The maples, beeches, and oaks reveal all their differences. I look to my left on that Lower trail of Marcy Woods as I trudge along then I stop. I recognize all around me at Twin Oak Hill the stolid black and red oaks standing in their structural poses, seemingly oblivious to the winds. Not so. for the strong winds have split the right twin oak. It has fallen to the ground in last year‘s storm.
As I round the bend and head southerly there are the leaning trunks of the great, gray birches. The sound of the winds dies away in this protective part of the trail. This is past the time of falling leaves. It is still time to see the framework of each deciduous tree that was once lost in its clothing of green in summer. Stop and scan each tree as it takes on new individuality through curve of limb, tilt of trunk or openings or subtle markings. I love this opportunity to see the deciduous trees in this fall/winter setting. Yes, I stop for a moment at the towering Tulip tree. One of my favourites. I look up. High in the branches in the maze of the topmost twigs are remnants (calyxes) of the base of its distinctive flowers. Many are still clinging tightly.
Perchance to reflect in this peaceful setting. I believe that some of these great oaks have been here before the coming of the European settlers. Those earlier trees in Niagara provided the settlers with shade and lumber, firewood and material for a thousand-and- one home-crafted aids from axe handles to bobsleds. But two of the largest and most valued trees are all but gone. Those were the American elm and American chestnut. All but wiped out by the Dutch elm disease and the chestnut blight we are told of their weathered remnants forming stark landmarks in area fields and woods. 2011 will see the gradual return of these two of the most beautiful trees of Niagara, the American elm and American chestnut. Believe it! Think about it. Here as 2011 approaches I should live so long.