Forest Summit II - ENTS Rendezvous, Part 1   Edward Frank
  Oct 26, 2004 13:12 PDT 

Forest Summit II/ENTS Rendezvous

I left Wednesday, October 20, with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.
I had been serving as webmaster for over a year and corresponding with
other ENTS members for longer. However this was via email. Aside from
Dale Luthringer, I did not really know any of them nor any of them know me.
I attended an ENTS gathering in April 2003. I had seen presentations
given by several of the ENTS people at that earlier event - Bob Leverett, Lee
Frelich, Colby Rucker, and Will Blozan. But for most of them I was just
another person at the meeting. I doubt if any of them would even recognize
me if they saw me. I had an advantage, I had seen photographs of several
of them and posted many of them to the website.   But talking on the
internet and meeting in person is never the same.

In this area of west central Pennsylvania the peak of the autumn foliage
had passed. Gone were the bright oranges, reds, and yellows. They were
replaced by the more subtle variations of browns - yellow brown, greenish
brown, reddish brown, and purples. I think the shades of brown have their
own beauty even if not as ostentatious as early autumn. As I traveled
eastward on interstate 80 the colors flowed by the car. Interstate 80 has
been cut straight through the land from one edge of the state to the other.
Unlike smaller highways that wind their way through the hills and farms,
it runs through stretches where only the highway itself is a sign of
civilization. No other roads, houses, farms, fields, or towns to be seen.
Just large areas of browns, reds, oranges, and yellows of the forest.
Traveling eastward the trees seemed to be less far along in their color
change than at home. The colors were brighter and cheery despite
intermittent rain showers. One picture stood out in particular. A small
tree was growing halfway up a roadcut. It's bright colored yellow leaves
stood as sharp contrast to the black of the rock wall. I continued on
through the twilight and into the night, arriving at Holyoke, Mass about
9:30 pm.

The next morning I called Bob Leverett and was invited to breakfast at his
home and on a field trip that morning. Bob lives in a nice Queen Anne
Style home in yellow with brown trim. At his home I met Bob, Phyllis, Bob
Van Pelt, Ishgooda, Will Blozan and several others and they met me. After
breakfast we took off in two cars for the William Cullen Bryant estate.

William Cullen Bryant was an essayist, journalist, and poet of the early
1800's. His first published work appeared in 1821. I rode with Bob
Leverett, Bob Van Pelt, and Will Blozan. The goal was to visit the grove
of large pine trees there and to try and confirm a fourth Eastern White
Pine over 150 feet in height. At the estate we met up with Jack Sobon a
builder with wood. He has designed and built a series of large timber
frame buildings using all wood components.   While at the Bryant Homestead
we visited the Big Tree Trail originally laid out by Bob Leverett. One
station was beside a small stream was a sign bearing a poem by Bryant. I
agreed to read it aloud to everyone. The poem talked about revisiting a
favorite rill and tree oft visited in his boyhood.


by William Cullen Bryant, 1821

This little rill, that from the springs
Of yonder grove its current brings,
Plays on the slope awhile, and then
Goes prattling into groves again,
Oft to its warbling waters drew
My little feet, when life was new.
When woods in early green were dressed,
And from the chambers of the west
The warm breezes, travelling out,
Breathed the new scent of flowers about,
My truant steps from home would stray,
Upon its grassy side to play,
List the brown thrasher's vernal hymn,
And crop the violet on its brim,
With blooming cheek and open brow,
As young and gay, sweet rill, as thou. -

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And when the days of boyhood came,
And I had grown in love with fame,
Duly I sought thy banks, and tried
My first rude numbers by thy side.
Words cannot tell how bright and gay
The scenes of life before me lay.
Then glorious hopes, that now to speak
Would bring the blood into my cheek,
Passed o'er me; and I wrote, on high,
A name I deemed should never die. -

Years change thee not. Upon yon hill
The tall old maples, verdant still,
Yet tell, in grandeur of decay,
How swift the years have passed away,
Since first, a child, and half afraid,
I wandered in the forest shade.
Thou, ever-joyous rivulet,
Dost dimple, leap, and prattle yet;
And sporting with the sands that pave
The windings of thy silver wave,
And dancing to thy own wild chime,-

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Thou laughest at the lapse of time.
The same sweet sounds are in my ear
My early childhood loved to hear;
As pure thy limpid waters run;
As bright they sparkle to the sun;
As fresh and thick the bending ranks
Of herbs that line thy oozy banks;
The violet there, in soft May dew,
Comes up, as modest and as blue;
As green amid thy current's stress,
Floats the scarce-rooted watercress;
And the brown ground-bird, in thy glen,
Still chirps as merrily as then. -

Thou changest not- but I am changed
Since first thy pleasant banks I ranged;
And the grave stranger, come to see
The play-place of his infancy,
Has scarce a single trace of him
Who sported once upon thy brim.
The visions of my youth are past-

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Too bright, too beautiful to last.
I've tried the world- it wears no more
The coloring of romance it wore.
Yet well has Nature kept the truth
She promised in my earliest youth.
The radiant beauty shed abroad
On all the glorious works of God,
Shows freshly, to my sobered eye,
Each charm it wore in days gone by. -

Yet a few years shall pass away,
And I, all trembling, weak, and gray,
Bowed to the earth, which waits to fold
My ashes in the embracing mould,
(If haply the dark will of Fate
Indulge my life so long a date),
May come for the last time to look
Upon my childhood's favorite brook.

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Then dimly on my eye shall gleam
The sparkle of thy dancing stream;
And faintly on my ear shall fall
Thy prattling current's merry call;
Yet shalt thou flow as glad and bright
As when thou met'st my infant sight. -

And I shall sleep- and on thy side,
As ages after ages glide,
Children their early sports shall try,
And pass to hoary age and die.
But thou, unchanged from year to year,
Gayly shalt play and glitter here;
Amid young flowers and tender grass
Thy endless infancy shall pass;
And, singing down thy narrow glen,
Shalt mock the fading race of men. - -

From there to the big trees. Everyone was off trying to find more of the
elusive 150 foot white pines. I talked awhile with Jack and took a series
of photos with my new digital camera. Bob wrote of the results:   "In
William Cullen Bryant, we re-measured the Bryant pine to 10.3 x 156.7 feet
and Will confirmed a new 150. It is the Jack Sobon pine at 8.4 x 153.0."
It was a nice trip and I got to see some good sized trees. On the way out
I found a large jelly fungus on one of the trees and took some pictures.
The trip home was interesting. BVP and Will were going ooH Ooh! There's a
then some Latin name I did not recognize the entire drive.   I reminded me
of trips I have made with other geologist zipping past roadcuts, or walks
with bird watchers...just a different focus.

Late that afternoon, after returning to Bob's house, Dale Luthringer rolled
in. He was followed by Tom Diggins and Lee Frelich. Lee's arrival was a
big surprise. That evening was the first of the talks at the Forest Summit
Lecture series. Bob Leverett gave an introductory presentation about the
Forest Summit Lecture Series and about ENTS. After the introductions the
talks began. The first was by Bob Van Pelt on "Great Trees of the World."
He had a series of beautiful photos in a power point presentation that set
the standard for the rest of the programs. He was followed by Tom Diggins,
presented "The Role of ENTS in the Land of OG. " He talked of his research
at Zoar Valley, NY and how the data he collected was used to persuade
public officials that of the uniqueness and value of the old growth in the
valley. This was followed by a short tribute to Jani Leverett, late wife
of Bob Leverett, activist for indigenous peoples around the world, and one
of the earliest inspiration for the ENTS. At a short break I purchased Bob
Van Pelts book: "Giants of the Pacific Coast." It was a book I had planned
to purchase anyway, and Bob was there to autograph it.   After the break
there was a presentation by Dale Luthringer entitled, "The Majestic Trees of
Cook Forest and Northwestern Pennsylvania." Dale had slides of many of the
largest trees in Pennsylvania.   The final presentation was By Bob Van
Pelt, "Modeling the World's Largest Trees: Techniques and Results" and was
spectacular. That evening we returned to Bob Leverett's home. We had some
dinner and mingled and talked for quite some time before I stretched out in
my sleeping bag on the floor.