In The Last Part Of The Article, She Pleads For The Preservation Of This Particular Forest, But It Was Logged Just A Few Years After The Article Appeared, And The New Trees That Grew On The Site Were Logged Again Fifty Years Later. Now It Is A Young Forest Dominated By Spindly Tulip Poplars. I Wish I Could Have Seen The Forest As She Described It, But I Have No Desire To See It Now.
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Loggers And Foresters Defending What They Do Will Tell You That Trees Grow Back Where They Have Been Logged, And Indeed They Do. But How Long Will It Take? Will That Kentucky Forest Ever Again Look The Way It Did In 1936? Not…In Decades, Nor Yet In Centuries.
That Story Is Terribly Sad, But On This Summer Day I Was Walking Through A Shady Old-Growth Forest With Little Room In My Soul For Sadness. “Dog” Walked Down The Trail A Few Paces Ahead Of Me, And When He Stopped To Look Into The Forest So Did I. His Hearing And Sense Of Smell Were Much Better Than Mine. Besides Having Larger Ears, He Could Control Them In Ways I Never Could: The Eighteen Muscles In A Dog’S Ears Can Precisely Raise, Rotate, And Tilt Them. Dogs Can Hear Higher Frequencies Than We Can And Can Even Hear Animals Underground. But Their Hearing Is Feeble Compared To Their Sense Of Smell.
Humans Tend To Rely On Vision, But Dogs Interpret The World Through Smell. A Canine’S Long Snout Is Lined With Ridges Covered In Scent-Detecting Cells. Dogs Have Twenty-Five Times More Smell Receptors Than We Do, Enabling Them To Detect Odors In Minuscule Concentrations. These Enriched Senses Of Hearing And Smell Are Especially Advantageous In Dense Forests Where Vision Is Of Limited Use. So, When Dog Stopped For Something Of Interest, I Believed There Really Was Something Interesting There, Even Though I Could Not Detect It. Experiencing The Forest Through Him Made It Richer For Me.
Hiking Alone Together, I Also Noted How Quiet He Was. We Hiked Along Silently, Both Hoping To Sneak Up On The Wildlife. Occasionally I Would Step On A Twig And Snap It, Accidentally Alerting Other Animals To Our Presence. Dog Would Look Back, As If To Say, Oh Well, I Guess You Can’T Help It; You’Re Just A Human After All.
When We Got To A Knobby Rock Overlook, Dog Led Me Directly To The Spot With The Best View And, While I Sat To Enjoy It, Ambled Off To Rest In The Shade. Noon Was Approaching, Heat Advisories Were In Effect, And That Morning The Radio Announcer Had Reported Five People Already Dead From The Heat Wave. Dog Looked At Me Questioningly When I Continued Hiking Uphill After Our Rest, But He Continued His Faithful Service.
Two Points Of Interest Were Noted On The Trail Map, The “Maze” And The “Sand Cave.” There Was No Sign At The Maze, But I Didn’T Need One To Tell Me I Was There. Gigantic Boulders And Slabs Of Granite Tumbled And Leaned In Every Direction. The Play Of Light On The Boulders Was An Artist’S Dream. Photographers Travel To Zion Or Canyon De Chelly For This Light; I Never Would Have Imagined Seeing Such Images In Kentucky. A Human On Foot Would Have To Go Across, Around, Over, And Under The Boulders To Navigate The Maze, And I Felt Dwarfed By Their Massive Size. For Someone As Directionally Challenged As I, It Was Especially Helpful To Have Dog Lead Me Through Its Wondrous Passages.
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