The goldenrod blooms gloriously wherever an open space in the deep woods allows the August sun to shine into it. They reach up nearly five feet tall and open their golden blossoms to that bright sun.

A bumblebee lands on a sheaf of these blossoms and begins drinking their nectar. He passes from one plant to another, doing his pollinating thing.

A light breeze twitters the leaves of the poplar trees 50 yards in front of me. Their alternate dark and pale green shimmer in the bright sunlight.

Now there is a call for my attention! My 155 year old Norway Pine companion to my left has just sent down a specimen of its fresh green needle couplet and landed it squarely on my writing board, thank you very much.

I have picked it up and am gazing at it now. It is fresh and green. Why would it come loose when it seems perfectly healthy? Has some critter up high set it loose?

I call it a couplet because  asyou know, the needles of the Norway grow in pairs. The white pine, by comparison, grows needles in clusters of five.

Now I see there are other green needle clusters on the  ground around me. Apparently by mid-August these forest giants have begun to drop their needles to the forest floor, as I see the base of each cluster is brown enough to break off easily.

I can dig my finger down four inches into a bed of brown Norway pine needles on the forest floor. Below that I dig into black decomposed vegetation. A spade’s depth into this ground brings up pure sand, the same sand that is found in Ham Lake 100 yards behind me.

I interrupt this to remark that a ruby-throated hummingbird has just buzzed by not three feet in front of me, hesitating a moment in mid-air, and then zooming on. I wonder if these littlest of the birds have nests in the deep woods.

I forgot to wear my red cap today. I am wondering what may have attracted him.

Then I notice that I am wearing a red shirt that is sticking out of the front of my open jacket. It is amazing to me how the hummingbird and the bumblebee can find the color in all of the green of the deep woods.

James Alger, who lives in Fargo, N.D., has been a summer resident of the Leech Lake area with his family for over 45 years. Over that time he has grown to love and appreciate the people and the woodlands of this area.


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