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Gwen Tuinman

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Trees

In Search of the Forest Primeval

In the summer of 1979, I sang along when Dan Fogelberg’s love song Longer played on the radio. He loved the object of his affection ‘deeper than any forest primeval’. What could be more compelling to a fifteen-year-old girl pining for romance. I then equated primeval with a dark European forest, thick with moss and trees old as time.

Years later, it was poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who brought the forest primeval closer to home. During a visit to Cape Breton Island, I purchased a copy of his epic poem, Evangeline, the tale of Acadians’ expulsion from Nova Scotia.

This is the forest primeval. 
The murmuring pines and the hemlocks, 
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight. 
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic, 
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Continue reading “In Search of the Forest Primeval”

How Settlers Cleared Their Land

Among the settler families’ first concerns was clearing trees from their allotments so land could be cultivated and crops grown. The prospect of such an undertaking must have been daunting. The second-growth forests of today are very different from the dense forests and huge trees our fore-bearers encountered. Colonel Strickland wrote about measuring a tree 11 feet in diameter with “the trunk rising like a majestic column, towering upwards for sixty or seventy feet before branching off its mighty head.”

Please enjoy this Wellspring Podcast of How Settlers Cleared Their Land.

Continue reading “How Settlers Cleared Their Land”

Curating Wonder–Canada’s Autumn Splendor

Continue reading “Curating Wonder–Canada’s Autumn Splendor”

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