I made it a personal intention this year to keep a journal for my treeplanting season. Last year’s session was only reflected by memory, and because of injury, I did not have enough time planting to keep writings of my progress. Last time, I had went through a depressing time with a lover of mine when she did not want to be with me anymore. The entire season became then mostly a project and an experience rather than anything ideal leading up to a reward. My skills were of course very rusty, and I was more interested in observing it. This year I have intentions to migrate to the UK, namely London, England. I have a set amount of trees I want to plant in order to have enough money for migration there. I shall be staying with my friend for one month and then doing the WWOOF scheme in the autumn months, followed by more treeplanting in Northumberland in the English winter. I was to be joined by a comrade in Virginia this year but it did not fall into place so seamlessly, but I will have the company of a friend into the main tenting season.
This time I chose to start with the early season, commencing on April 22, after being set back several times due to snow and cold of the harsh winter before. Meeting in Kaladar, Ontario and planting in Cloyne in the Mazinaw/Lanark Forest the next day. During the early season, it is not yet ideal habitable conditions for tent living, thus we were staying in lodges and cabins. The first lodge call Loon’s Call, was tucked in close by a lake with several dirt roads leading to other cabin and trailer homesteads. I had my own room here, and the cabins had showers which are atypical for a treeplanting season.
I would wake at 5 to assemble my day meal, and cook breakfast. For the past few months, I have been keeping the tradition of morning groats with different mixes of ingredients. I am leading a vegetarian diet here, with a few vices for proper nutrition while planting. We leave from the lodge at 7 and take the hour drive out to the ‘block’ which is where the
clear cutting was. There is almost always a walk in, sometimes being left directly at the planting piece, other times hiking for up to half an hour here with variations in landscape. It requires immense physical stamina and endurance to reserve your energy for the entire day. The planting lasts 9 hours, or longer if there is need to ‘close’ the piece by planting
all the eligible areas. In this first contract, the species were white and red pine, and weighed roughly an ounce each. A full crate had 260 trees which I would normally put in my bags and walk the land with. I had a productive increase of trees planted in my time in this bioregion. The land was uneven, often mountainous with a lot of climbing and rock caps, but over repetition of planting in the same area, my eye for the land and my technique was refined. One section of forest in particular was however quite a burden, and one of the most painful experience I have had while planting. The forest was full of thorns, and I could not take any steps forward without being pricked, cut, and tangled by all the vines and barbs. This was one of my lowest efforts thus far, and I came out quite desensitized and hardened for it. I planted a day in the rain, but did relatively fine, although lost my way a couple of times.
The wilderness surrounding the logging areas is relatively untouched, and I have shared the presence of many flora and fauna, some more exotic, others in abundance rarely seen in such concentrations from where I stayed before in Montreal. The vast pine, poplar, and spruce forest weaved beside the roadways, the masses of mosses, and lichen seeping and enrobing all the clean grounds. Snakes writhing in the dry duff, grouse camouflaged with dull plumage, wild turkeys, farm horses and hairy highland, the carrion birds of black eagle, ravens and crows seeking the recently deceased. I came across the flayed skin of a deer, several hoof prints, and fell asleep to the sound of loons.
In the second contract, we stayed instead in motel style lodges which were more fancy than anything I was used to with bush work. It was a stark contrast of being in the scorching heat and mud for 10 hours and come home to a daily cleaned room with a shower, but i’m not complaining. My planting flow stayed pretty constant here keeping well above my minimum projected stock. I learned many secrets of proper tree planting and how to read the signs of nature. Some of my trees I dedicated to friends and others for the Galdragildi, my rune gild. The fawns came out of hiding, the frogs croaked into the dark, I observed one being eaten by a garter snake. A strange pillar of tree stump supported a large boulder on top of it, placed there by some unknown source. A lot of treking, climbing, and running through dirt, slash, and decay. A necessary
hardness had to be assumed to get me through these long days. I drew the rune lot of :Wunjo: the night before my first plant, as I was feeling some relative fear, and anxiety for the coming days. Meditating on this rune diurnally and sleeping with bliss and comfort by evening.