Where everything is smaller than usual

Firstly, get out your granny glasses because the type on this page has gone all wonky again. Why does Blogger do that?

In addition to the fire tower incident on Friday, I finally drove far enough south to see some of the damage from the Warren Grove fire back in May. There’s a gunnery range there and well… an F-16 dropped a flare during target practice that set fire to 15,000 acres or so. Oops! It all ended well, with no one hurt, and the pines got a taste of fire again.

I took this pic along Rt. 539 and you can sort of get an idea of what the pine plains are like – those are dwarf pines growing in the distance – stunted and twisted from the dry, sandy, nutrient-poor soil to reach no more than 10 feet tall, but mostly they’re shorter. The trees grow so closely together so as to be impenetrable, but here or there is a way in.

It’s worth looking for an opening because there’s a subtle beauty to the plains. There’s pleasure in the absence of people and the stillness. The soil underfoot crunches with reindeer lichen and if you‘re patient enough to look for it, there’s bearberry, a neat little arctic plant that stayed behind when the ice retreated.

I didn’t spend very much time that day, mostly I was in a hurry to be somewhere else, but it was a worthwhile detour. I think my favorite time to visit the dwarf pines is in the middle of winter with a cover of snow and the company of a few chickadees searching the pine cones for a tasty morsel.

11 thoughts on “Where everything is smaller than usual”

  1. Why is it only me then who sees the type as tinier as the page goes down? Is it my eyes or what?


    And Susan: I don’t think I’ve ever been to Camden (I know better!) but wonder how rural that drive is? It’s part of the pinelands, i think, but i don’t know.

  2. Laura, you’ve given me a good idea – visiting the pine plains after a snow! Hopefully it’ll actually snow this winter…

    Believe it or not, Camden does have its virtues. It seems to have a decent aquarium, a fun concert venue and, if you’re interested in military histry, Battleship New Jersey. Oh, and, if you’re into ocean liner history, our country’s last and greatest ocean liner, the SS United States, is located just across the Ben Franklin bridge in Philly. Who knew, right? 😉

  3. Fire is so vital to those pines. It’s unfortunate that this fire was started by human activity but, in a way, maybe that helps compensate for all the natural fires we suppress.

    It’s so cool to imagine a plant ‘left behind’ as the glaciers retreated millennia ago. (Did the ice really go that far south?) Is that population of bearberry isolated from others further north?

  4. The type in the first paragraph does look a point or two larger than in subsequent paragraphs. But it is all readable. I am not sure why that happens either.

  5. The text in the posts looks fine, but I think the stuff in the sidebar is tinier than usual… Who knows what’s up with Blogger. It’s a cruel mistress sometimes.

    I’d love to live near you and go with you on these little jaunts!

  6. Beth: Hi! I’ve been meaning to ask forever… will you send me an invite to your blog, please?


    I’ve wanted to visit that aquarium (heard mixed reviews, actually) but never seem to make it out that way. I’m sure it’s not all as awful as the news would have us think. Thanks for the suggestions.

    Mojoman: Yep, lots of retirement communities in that area, so I don’t know how much controlled burning they’re able to do.

    Bearberry grows also in upstate NY and I want to say also in the pine plains on Long Island. I might be making that up though.

    I tried growing it in my garden once… won’t go into it but to say that it did about as well as the bunchberry. Maybe you have that by you?

    John: Thanks. It’s the sidebar and the other posts lower on the page that are bugging me.

    Delia: Exactly, yes. It would be nice to have company. I have a friend from work who comes along once in a blue moon, but she doesn’t like to go quite so far south and into the middle of nowhere as I do.

  7. Blogger does a lot of weird stuff to me.I finally figured out that you can’t drop and drag your photos if you want them to be enlargeable.It is constantly messing up my paragraph spacing.Now I just put a small dash in between paragraphs so that it is forced to leave a space.I also get small letter syndrome.-Oh well-I guess that’s wh it’s free to use.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *