Story of the Week

The roads had just been plowed and a slick layer of plow-shear caused my traction control dash light to click on and off occasionally. Eventually I reached my final turn. As I drove down the private drive to the Codere property - a property protected by a fairly restrictive Forever Wild conservation easement - I looked for the nearest snowbank to park in. After finding a suitable one, I set off into the woods.

I brought with me a thick plastic baggie to smother the buckthorn and a small folding saw. Unfortunately, I had not considered bringing snowshoes. I post-holed through the folded hills, sometimes sinking up to my waist. After about 20 minutes, electrical lines showed through the tree canopy, and the mowed powerline offered an abrupt transition from mature forest.

The invasive common buckthorn plant was identified near this powerline strip, and I began to poke through the brush, keeping a keen eye out for any still-green foliage: a tell-tale sign of a plant whose phenology is alien to the seasons' timing of New England.

Thankfully, it took surprisingly little time to find it. Hooded by hemlock boughs weighted with snow, the dense light-green leaves of common buckthorn stood out against the snow. I quickly sawed through the bole of the plant and covered the stump with the plastic baggie. Hopefully by the summer of next year the baggie will have prevented any re-sprouts from seeing daylight and furthering regrowth.

After anchoring it with zip-ties, I traced my steps back to my car. With only a few pushes on the rear bumper, I dislodged the car and was back on my way home. In the rear view, looking out at the snowy woods quickly retreating behind me, I couldn't help but appreciate how lucky I am - in this of all years - to so easily be able to find adventure and solace outside.