I’ve been walking past this old soft maple for decades. It’s about two miles west of my farm. It continues to survive even as it loses more branches each winter. Very likely, it was planted by the CCC–the Civilian Conservation Corps–in the 1930s. The CCC planted fast-growing species, like soft maples, along roadsides throughout the north country. Now, 70-80 years later, many are dying. Seems to me it’s time to encourage widespread new plantings along our roads.
When I walk past trees like this one–humble, unassuming, yet essential to our landscape–I feel connected to that earlier time and imagine the crews of young men working up and down the roads with shovels and sacks of small saplings.
Anything we plant today will connect us to those who will people our landscape a century from now. I think that’s pretty cool.