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The Ohio Woods in Summer.

August 8, 2011

What is it about forests that attract us?

Our typical landscapes are open.  We can see down the road, or across the yard or fields quite clearly.  But when we’re in the woods, we’re enclosed by the scenery.  We’re on unfamiliar ground.  What’s going on around us?  Perhaps it’s an uneasy feeling left over from when our lives depended on seeing trouble ahead of time, and that can be hard to do in a forest.

And yet forests can be mysterious places, places of wonder, attracting us.  They are another world in a sense, and our curiosity is aroused.

On summer mornings, the woods can be quite dark and imposing.  But there is an overarching feeling of calm.  The world is quiet.

After some time in this peaceful environment, one can hear natural sounds- leaves rustling slightly in the breeze, the creaking of tree limbs and trunks, the drumming of a distant woodpecker, a squirrel or chipmunk or something larger moving through the undergrowth.

Bird calls echo through the trees.  There’s the steady bland singing of the Red-Eyed Vireo, the sliding whistle of the Wood Peewee, the musical ring of a Wood Thrush.  Occasional exclamations of flycatchers ring out, modest gleaners of insects under the forest canopy.

There are occasional unexplained sounds.  Was that laughing cry a loon in the distance?  Or the odd calamity that sounds like it belongs in an exotic jungle.  What on earth could that have been?

There are growing things all around. Unfamiliar plants with names like Wood Nettle, Lopseed, Thimbleweed, Enchanter’s Nightshade…and others things less identifiable.

The forest world is refreshing to visit.  It’s a different experience!

Ohio forest facts:

  • Approximately 30% of Ohio’s land is forest- that’s more than I realized!  The southeastern part of the state is more heavily forested than other parts.
  • Since 1942, Ohio’s forests have doubled in size.  There’s been a loss of forest land to development, but a greater loss of farmland that’s subsequently reverted to forest has more than made up for it.
  • There are 109 species of trees in Ohio.
  • 96% of Ohio’s trees are deciduous (hardwood); 4% are coniferous (evergreens).
  • Over half of Ohio’s woodlands is oak-hickory forest;  a third of Ohio’s woodlands is of the northern hardwood variety.  There are lots of mature oaks in the state, but many more maple saplings (due to various factors).  In the future, maples may overtake oaks in numbers, which could change the forest ecosystem.
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16 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2011 10:16 pm

    Love all the different leaves, the shades of green. I would love to take a walk through the woods of North Central Pa, but I can’t… so I thank you for taking me on this walk with you, felt like I was right there, among the trees, watching the sun play on the ground. 🙂

  2. August 9, 2011 12:35 am

    Very enjoyable series of photos! I would love to walk through one of the deciduous forests for a change: ours here are all conifers.

  3. August 9, 2011 6:58 am

    Magnificent photos, thoughts and interesting info. I almost feel as if I was in the forest enjoying a stroll in the heart of Mother Nature. You ave a wonderful visual writing voice. 🙂

  4. August 9, 2011 8:34 am

    You must spend every waking moment outside! Good for you! When everyone else is crabbing they didn’t spend enough time outside this summer, you won’t be able to relate. Nice post!

  5. August 10, 2011 2:38 am

    The woods are quiet, but they are seldom silent

  6. August 10, 2011 4:29 pm

    Your description, in words and photos, of the Ohio Woods in Summer is wonderful. 🙂

  7. August 12, 2011 5:13 pm

    The woods are one of my favorite places- they put me in a totally different mind-frame.

    Thanks for the comments everyone!

  8. August 12, 2011 6:29 pm

    Thanks for taking time to post and share all of these photos with us. After watching our Texas landscape turn brown this summer, it’s SO refreshing to take a walk through your Ohio forest and remember that ‘seasons come and seasons go’ — and that green will return eventually to all of our landscapes!

    I especially enjoy seeing the rays of morning light peeking through the leaves in your photos.

    One of my grandfathers was a woodsman in the forests of Ohio and West Virginia many, many years ago — and so this post holds a special meaning for me. Thank you!! 🙂

    • August 12, 2011 10:43 pm

      Its nice to have a connection to a place through a relative- and indeed it’s cooler under the mature leaf canopy 🙂

  9. August 12, 2011 9:11 pm

    Great photos and a super story.

  10. August 13, 2011 2:26 am

    The forest comes alive with your photos. The plants seems to tell a story. A story about hope, peace and inner happiness. Just staring at them gives me calmness. Thank you.

  11. August 14, 2011 7:58 pm

    A lovely evocative post! Your landscape is so GREEN compared to our Australian bush 🙂

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