Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Valcourian Balm for the Sould

South Burlington, VT

Soul Balm; is that a good phrase to describe Valcour Island?

We just returned from another three day stay there.  When we are on Valcour we feel totally at peace with the world.   The only thing that forces us to return to land is running out of food.

The past few days especially, there has been a heat wave.  But sitting 5 meters from the water it never gets too hot.   Besides, we can (and did) simply walk into the water frequently for a swim.  The water is perfect temperature for swimming (75F 24C).  It is also crystal clear, soft and silky.

The interior of Valcour is also interesting.   It is perfectly clear that Valcour was scrubbed clean down to baserock in the last glacial period about 12,000 years ago (?).   Since then, it has rebuilt only a thin layer of soil on top, 3-6 inches in most places.  That makes it hard for mighty trees to establish structurally adequate roots to hold them up.   Accordingly, every time a powerful wind comes along, some of the big trees fall pulling their root system over with them.

Note the slab of rock pulled up when this tree fell.

Almost every visit to Valcour in the past 40 years, I fantasize about energy.   I would love to have a house there, and to power it with the energy from dead wood, plus the thermal sink of lake waters all around.   Of course, that dream can never be fulfilled, but it is fun.

Cedars are especially tenatious in seeking soil for their roots.

The interior of Valcour is also totally shaded and almost always damp.   Fungi, and moss flourish.   In some places the verdant green moss beds are somehow suspended in air above the rocks.  When you walk on them it feels like a trampoline.   If they weren't damp, they would make marvelous natural bed mattresses.

We circumnavigated the island during a calm spell.

I'm sure it's not over,  We will return to Valcour again before the end of this summer season.

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