To the editor:
Now is the time of year when the pretty field mice come in for warmth and stray crumbs. City ladies, newly removed from their snug apartments, are apt to scream at the sight and, in rare cases, faint. Suburban women are prepared with an exterminator who comes four times a year to exterminate whatever the current pest may be. Country women prepare traps and remove the little carcasses without a tremor and sometimes even remember to wash their hands.
One of my Little Compton readers asked me about the unusual number of dead trees we are seeing. So I called our tree warden, Jason Burchard (he is also the proprietor of Sakonnet Tree Inc.), who took the time to report as follows. In the 17 years he has been working with trees he has never seen anything like what we are seeing now. Three consecutive years of drought followed by the winter moth, then the gypsy moth are mostly responsible.
But also, and this will please all of those who think our non parasitic lichen is responsible; it is – in a small way. As it slowly covers branches, trees that lose their bark slowly get their growth buds smothered. Loose barked trees shed their bark and the lichens. (I didn’t know trees breathed).Trees that are already dying do get covered. We seem to have more fluffy lichen masses than other towns and I have read it because we have such clean air. So maybe not all of our questions about lichens are answered.
Soon you will notice that the afternoons are getting lighter, accompanied of course by colder temperatures, but it is supposed to be a mild winter. We shall see.
And soon I hope you will have the chance to be with distant friends and family. If you are with your children or grands, remind them that their “thank you” letters need to be written, not tweeted.