Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Swallowed by the trees

I blogged Monday at All Things Maine about the Scythe Tree of Montville. Martin Van Buren Hannan was out mowing a field with Levi Bartlett in 1862 when a recruiter came by.
Mart recalled that after the Recruiter left, Levi and the farm help went back to their task of mowing the field, swish, swish, swish. Mart was a strong young man of twenty-two years, able to keep up the hardiest of his friends and neighbors, and able to do a long, hard day’s work. The words brought by the passing messenger echoed in his ears. It shouldn’t take long to whip the Rebels, and keep the country strong and secure.

Levi’s daughter yelled across the field that it was time for dinner as they arrived back by the roadside. Mart hung his scythe in a young sapling maple tree, as the men went back to the farmhouse to eat dinner. He didn’t have much to say that day. He pushed back his plate and chair after eating the hearty dinner prepared by Ann Bartlett and her daughter, Ann, and reached for his straw hat. “I’ll finish the field when I get back,” he told them. “I’m going after that Recruiter!” [Source]
The scythe still hung from the maple when he returned from the war, and what remains of the blade is undoubtedly still there, embedded in the wood.

Trees can swallow up bullets, nails, barbed wire—even gravestones, given enough time (here's a Flickr pool featuring items "Eaten by Trees"). My father used to sharpen saws at a mill, and repaired the damage that hidden pieces of metal inflicted. The most impressive example was an entire peavey hook a tree had grown around. Out in his barn he keeps a section of that log with the hook still inside.

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