Traverse City Record-Eagle

Record-Eagle 150th Anniversary

July 20, 2009

A 'Timber' excerpt

"Beyond Pancake was nothing; literally nothing, no farms, no houses, no fences. The road was simply two deep ruts in the thin June grass sod and red brown moss, and wound on interminably across the monotonous Michigan pine barrens, or, as the natives call them, the plains. Here and there stood patches of jack pine, at times many acres in extent. Again it was oak, with some sizeable trees and much brush; in other places native poplar and balm of Gilead; birch and soft maple rose on ridges; in the distance was the blue-green of swamps. All about stood stumps, big stumps, close together, rotted by time and blackened by fire, ugly and desolate, but marking the places where within the generation mighty pines had reared their ragged plumes in dignified congregation. The same black that was on the stumps was on living trees, too; whole halves had been eaten from the butts of oak by creeping flames; smaller oaks, fire-killed, stood black and dead, while a clump of fresh brush rose from the living roots. Poplar and birch grew up through a tangle of punky, brittle trunks that had been trees not so long ago, that given up life before fire and had finally fallen among their growing progeny.

"From ridges Taylor could see miles of this. They dropped down into sweeping valleys of the same thing."

-- By Harold Titus

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