I walked in your path today, Brother Nik.
I remember the comfortable late summer afternoon when you guided your harvester so skillfully and gracefully through this dense stand of Red Pine at Freestone Road. I remember the quiet hum of your well maintained diesel engine powering the machine, and the quick clean cut of your well sharpened saw head. I remember as you carefully harvested each mature tree, a little more rich sunlight found its way to the forest floor.
We needed this job done right, to take a few large trees in order to increase sunlight, to save an abundance of the young White Pine which had been so carefully planted and cared for underneath, to minimize impact on the soil, and to process the harvested trees into excellent logs for the family sawmill. Not an easy task.
3 years later I followed in the path of your harverster - your path - and admired the result of your work, and tended to the young trees you so carefully protected. It was a pleasant afternoon in a lovely forest, but cold. Cold because the warmth of summer was gone. But mostly cold because now you're gone. Gone in an instant with your bride, Teresa. Too young.
The young White Pine at Freestone have and will continue to grow beautifully, with just the right amount of added sunlight but still the protection of the over-story you left. But of course here in January, the days are cold and short, and the forest is dormant. But the warm days of summer will come again soon. And we will see you and Teresa again soon.