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Friday, March 11, 2005

Eye of the Beholder

Heineken wrote:
I love redcedars. They add beauty and atmosphere to any landscape, they stay green (or purplish) through the winter, and their berries are avidly consumed by birds, who also use it for cover. The wood lasts forever in ground contact and so makes the ideal fencepost. I burn a lot of it in my woodstove.

The wood is beautiful and aromatic and repels bugs, so it's great for lining drawers and for furniture construction.

Redcedar is easy to transplant and makes a great screen.

The bark and fluting on the trunk of an old cedar are lovely to behold.
Carp are a lovely fish with exquisite flesh which soothes the palate when smoked.
Pheasants are a lovely bird with radiant plumage and tasty to boot.
Eurasian milfoil is a lovely aquatic plant which harbors many gamefish.
African bees are lovely insects which produce nectar from the gods.
Zebra mussels are geometric wonders of nature.

No they all exist as opportunistic alien species which after millions of years of stable population and range have suddenly taken hold in new regions due to you know who.

Anybody that thinks the monotonous dirty-red specks that dot the New Mexico landscape represents natural history, the work of natural succession, or any kind of pretty scenery needs to rethink their position. Art can exist as panoramic view of semi-arid desert just as it can as a finely-crafted cedar chest. We always have to consider trade-offs.

One other thing: the "easy to transplant" property of red cedar. That's similar to saying that carp are adaptable and milfoil spreads easily.



Professor Anonymous pi said...

nice invasive spp rant, but red cedar in the land of enchantment? Mormons call juniper cedar 'cause it sounds Biblical & all, but but...juniper ain't red cedar.

Anyone who burns a lot of red cedar is nuts, though.

1:06 AM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

By golly, the original poster was probably referring to juniper! People go out picking the berries, the national monument just west of Albuquerque is a popular place to go.

In any case, I have seen the red cedar in NM, and on road trips all the way north-south through the midwest. Once you recognize it in Minnesota, your eyes don't lie elsewhere.

10:21 AM  

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