The Dutchman’s Breeches are starting to bloom in the woods and among the quartzite of the Baraboo hills. Spring is certainly here!
“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.”
― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
My first-of-the-year discovery of blooming dutchman’s breeches came as I walked the new Highway 12 bypass construction area. I realized, standing not to far from the Point of Rocks Outcrop (Now on the National Register of Historic Places), near Skillet Creek Rd., that this would probably be the last time these shade loving woodland plants would grow here. Their environment is being irrevocably changed.
Standing atop the flat, dry road bed, a dust devil formed near me like apparition carrying the smokey dirt and dust just a few yards away before dissipating into nothingness. In the distance I could hear red-winged blackbirds, frogs of every sort and occasionally a red-bellied woodpecker popping like a broken spring in the woods to my right. A vulture soared overhead looking for a morning meal. A plastic flag fluttered. For a little while longer I just stood on the ridge, taking it all in; The sounds of nature, the sharpness of the wind, the roar of traffic in the distance. The roar being the reason for all the destruction.
In time, I slowly made my way back down the hill. Along the way I discovered the footprints of coyotes, turkeys, raccoons, cranes and construction workers. I could see that a doe and her fawn had recently been drinking from the muddy pool that was once a stream flowing to a wetland below. A ditch had been dug to let some of the water out of a small lake that had been created by the roadbed now blocking the stream.
I understand the construction. The population and the traffic continue to grow. I’m also reminded how we as humans just “do stuff” with no concern for the land under our feet, or the animals who call these ever-shrinking wild spaces, caught between cities and farmland, home. If we need a highway, we start plowing down the forest. It’s just what we do. We may be more cautious, more considered here in 2015 than we were in the past.. but really, we still just do whatever we like.. nature be damned… We just fill out the forms and turn the earth. Yeah, I totally get the Lorax.
“A tree falls the way it leans. Be careful which way you lean.”
Anyway, here are some photos from the construction zone near Devil’s Lake State Park.