Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tree Shapes

I’m still taking advantage of the snow covered forest to view interesting features. Snow on the trunk and branches gives highlights that make it easy to follow the angled ascent of this tree. The snow capped stub at the base suggests that this tree began as a subordinate sprout that gained control when the dominant leader died.

This tree looks like it could easily be described as a corkscrew variety. The growth pattern suggests that the woods was much more open at this spot when the tree was growing. Trees do not produce a lot of horizontal branching when surrounded by other trees. The presence of cedars nearby is also evidence of a more open situation years ago.

Looking for a straight tree trunk in this group is like playing Where’s Waldo. Woodlands like this result when landowners continually harvest the best timber trees and leave the rest. A lot of the trees show damage from being struck by falling timber during a harvest. Others just weren’t prepared to respond when suddenly provided with abundant sunlight.

This is my Magic Eye photo. In the distance is my house. On average, I take about 100 shots per hour when I’m out walking, so I don’t remember every shot. When I reviewed what I had taken on this walk, I kept wondering why I took a picture of these trees. Finally, just like viewing the Magic Eye pictures, my eyes focused on the house in the background. Look for horizontal lines and a roof that matches the color of brown leaves. This isn’t the first time I’ve puzzled over a strange photo. There are a couple that I’ve never figured out.

Some places in the woods are a mess of fallen and misshapen trees. It does look bad, but I like to think of it as a good badness. Much of what’s happening now is the result of past abuses that will not be occurring again. To once again become a healthy, mature forest, the damaged and unhealthy tree must be replaced. I think of these woods as being like the ugly scabs I used to get on my knees when I wrecked my bike. The scabs would keep getting thicker and nastier, but eventually would slough away to reveal fresh new skin. Some day this forest will have that fresh skin look.


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