Notes from the Island
March 1997

It has been a fascinating lesson to see the Island begin to come to life in February. One day in mid-February the Caretaker was bemoaning Winter and wishing April and Spring would come, only to pause long enough to look around and suddenly notice that signs of new life were everywhere if one cared to stop and notice. Visibility through the woodland vistas increased steadily from October through this month. It is not as though the trees lose their leaves in early Fall and then things are at the same level of bareness through Winter... it was a steady process of increasing visibility until mid month. But this month the twigs started to swell and change color. You may remember the reports regarding how even in late January the sap could be seen leaking from the beaver scars on the trees after the big freeze abated and the river ice melted

An easy indicator of this is the view towards the new houses across the river. The owners have obviously cut many trees to improve their river front view. One could notice the houses kind of "pop out," and then continue to become increasingly visible as Winter winds continually blew through and cleaned the tree canopy. Now they are starting to be less clear.

Little flowers are poking up everywhere... as is the newly sown grass. Everything seems terribly fragile, and yet there is a feeling of a gathering of energy prior to the great outburst of Spring. The downside is that the Caretaker has had to curtail one of his favorite pastimes... walking the Island at night in search of mystery and errant beaver. It is impossible to step anywhere now without watching and being aware of one's feet so as to minimize damage to the emerging beauty.

Captain Matthews has arranged for the building supplies required for the first three of the six canoe shed modules to be delivered and dropped off at the parking lot on the Parkway. Laborers then carried all of this... including a dozen 80 pound concrete sacks... down to the Island. Already the large posts have been installed with concrete footings. In order to properly install the 16 foot posts properly and straight into the holes, he designed an even larger tripod to act as a crane... and for the "hoist" he used chains to attach block and tackle at the top. Although this all seemed commonplace to him, it seemed like a minor Wonder of the World to the Caretaker, and all are encouraged to take notice of it if you are lucky enough to come down before it is disassembled.

The Caretaker took a week's vacation during the third week of February and Tryon Wells stood in. The weather was beautiful that week and while there were many visitors there were few callers. It was discovered that the telephone line was down much of that week, so for any of you wondering why you did not get responded to or your e-mail replied to... here are two good excuses.

But by far the most exciting news to report is that the Caretaker's Wife has returned from Prague and will be in residence... hopefully for a while.

Doc Taliaferro, Sycamore Island Caretaker