Thursday, February 28, 2008

What Remains

When I leave the cabin for work in the morning, the light still isn't the best but it's getting there. I chose this photo for two reasons today. Here it is, just 2 days from the start of March, and some of the trees have still retained last year's leaves. Around my cabin, most of the trees that still have leaves are American beech trees, like the one on the right of this photo. The large beech has lost most of its leaves, but the smaller ones seem to be the ones that have retained their leaves. Granted, these are old and brittle leaves but they are still hanging on.

Every year, it's not unusual to see a tree here or there that hangs on to its leaves well into mid or even late winter, but I've never before noticed that this has occurred with a single species of tree. In fact, in previous years, it's usually been one or two old oaks where a branch or two has held its leaves. So why this year have the smaller beech trees held their leaves? At the moment I have no idea but this has gotten my investigatory juices flowing, and if there's a reason, I will certainly try and find it.

So what's the second reason I'm posting this photo? This is actually a photo of the old logging road bed that climbs up the mountain in front of my cabin. This mountain was cleared sometime after the Civil War but before 1900, as best as I can determine. The old road is almost invisible now. The dip to the left and the flat area in the middle are not the mountain's natural shape. This little section of the old road is visible only in winter. My cabin sits where part of it once cut across the mountain, and the lane past my cabin bisects another piece of it, so its only remains are small sections. Every year, the road is less visible as leaves fill in the left corner of the cut a little more. The mountain is reclaiming its shape.

4 comments:

Lynne said...

You've mentioned your concern and curiosity about the trees that are still holding leaves before. In my wanderings around my area, I've not noticed anything similar except for the pin oaks which never drop leaves until spring bud. I look forward to you sharing what you learn.

Anonymous said...

I live in western N.Y and have observed young beeches holding their leaves every winter.
Dave Cooney

pablo said...

I have a few stretches like that in my woods too. Mine sure look like old roads, but they don't seem to go anywhere, and I can't find any "connectors" to follow the dots.

Dana Jones said...

Enjoying your posts. I also have oaks that retain leaves until spring bud in my neck of the woods. Not so familiar with beech trees though.

Come over and see my owl at my cabin blog since you are an aviary hound!

Happy Camping! Dana