Friday, May 3, 2013

Raking the Forest

We are up at the cabin and it is very dry. Northern New England is stuck in a high pressure weather system. Fire danger warnings are up; no one is making campfires.

One of our neighbors at the lake tells me she always rakes away from her cabin in spring to clear out the dead leaves and pine needles. She does it to lower fire danger.

We never rake at the cabin. We let the pine needles, birch and beech leaves pile up as they always have, decomposing and hopefully enriching the soil of the forest floor.

But to each his own. Once a year, my sister rakes the forest around her cabin in the Northwest. I laugh at this, but she swears that it allows the moss to thrive. I also recently learned that another neighbor here at the lake also rakes the forest in spring. Gets up all the pine needles, and pine cones...from the driveway and the mossy rocks.

To me, the forest has not had rakers for thousands and thousands of years. Does it need it? I suppose if one wants to cultivate moss it makes sense. And I suppose if one has a staff to do it, it would be a nice thing to have done. But when I'm at the cabin contemplating such things, a certain woodsy slothfulness takes hold.