The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Rick Brockway

December 27, 2013

Trees have it tough during harsh winters


My old horse had a barn where he could get out of the weather, but he didn’t like it. He preferred to stand up on the hill and watch down the valley. The snow and cold north wind would howl and blow. He’d just stand there with snow covering his back and his butt to the wind while surveying his territory. He was happy.

The only time weather bothers animals is when they can’t get food and water. Zero temperatures and a foot of snow mean nothing to them. In fact, the snow acts as insulation as well. After the rain had stopped, these Maine native creatures just stood up, shook off the ice from their coats and went back to browsing on the buds and grasses like normal.

The trees didn’t fare as well. The white birches that bent across the roads and into the yards will never straighten, even after they shed their crystal shells.

“And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed

So low for long, they never right themselves.”

(Frost. 1916)

Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at

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