My spot is a small clearing in Centennial Woods. The majority of the trees are hardwoods, but the ground is compact from all of the humans walking on the path. Typically, this causes there to be less understory, but that doesn’t stop the random patches of grass and baby trees. There’s this beautiful plant with large green oval leaves that is thriving in this environment. This shows the semi-productive soil in my area that homes a variety of aged trees and understory. Most of the trees look like they’re old, since they have thick trunks. There are a few dead trees, some being standing dead, and one of them being split in half. These photos are from October 1 and October 11, 2019.

The plant

The unique bark and age of the trees defines this place. The branches are angled upwards enough for you to get a beautiful view of the Centennial Wood’s little stream and low lying plant area. It’s quite a beautiful destination to have your own space. There’s not an abundance of leaf litter or grass on the ground. However, you can find some nifty roots in the ground with green mulch growing out of the middle which show cases the beauty of micro-scale ecosystems.

The character of the place is really the animals and insects that scurry along. I saw a chipmunk running in and out of a tree, which shows a symbiotic relationship between the tree and the chipmunk. He was quite a marvelous creature, carefully keeping an eye on us while going amongst his duties. There’s also a couple of caterpillars and irreverent beetles that I’ve located in this spot. They scurry along the forest floor, straying from our presence.

I feel so comfortable in this spot, it’s truly my place if I ever want to escape anywhere. I feel connected to the trees, the soil, the creatures, and the whole ecosystem. Everything is in motion surrounding me at my location, photosynthesis occurs in the baby trees trying to grow up into the bigger and older trees we have in this site that are home to many kinds of critters like the famous chipmunks and birds jump about their branches.

The tree that has glorious looking branches in my spot.

Centennial Woods has been a part of close to all my classes here at the University of Vermont, so I’ve had to study the various species of trees throughout this research forest. In the spot, we have paper and yellow birches, various breeds of oak, among other low-lying plants. I started to go to this spot almost every other day on my own accord because I needed a dose of nature relaxation and meditation.

My beautiful phenology spot’s view.

My experience in this spot is ethereal. I am in my own world here. I see the history of this place inside the split tree with a dark center showing its rotting core. The other trees has little branch nubs sticking out in different heights. The tree seems to be stuck in time whenever I come here, and that kinda makes me stuck in time, too.

The Split Tree
Field Notes