I read with dismay Mr. Mitchell’s arrogant and dismissive comments about cottonwoods: dirty, a nuisance, losing limbs, dripping sap. The arboreal nerve of some trees!
I don’t know where the commissioner is from, but most of us born out here regard cottonwoods as a western talisman, along with Indian paintbrush, ravens, and coyotes. Some Native Americans called it waga-chun: the tree that talks to itself. Its bark fed the horses of mountain men enduring iron winters. Perhaps the poet Merrill Gilfillan put it best: “Wherever there is any hope at all, there are cottonwoods on the horizon.”
It appears, from this reader’s vantage, there’s less hope and more than one sort of sap on Whitefish Lake.
Cort Conley, Boise, Idaho