Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Embracing the brown

One thing I enjoy after the leaves fall in autumn is to look at a pile of leaves and try to identify the tree species they came from. Leaves get blown in from all over the forest, so the leaves I see do not always correspond to the trees in front of me. That’s part of the fun.
In this pile I see eastern dogwood, cottonwood, white oak, perhaps a red oak or two and wild cherry. Oddly, I don’t see any hickory or beech, which, after the oaks, are probably the most common species here on Roundtop Mtn. Leaves, even dropped ones like these, are a riot of interesting textures and shapes and come in a variety of shades of brown.

I never run out of leaf piles here in the forest. I make a few feeble attempts to keep them from being knee deep on my front and back decks, but I’ve long since given up trying to rid myself of them entirely. When you live in a forest, leaves are ever-present. Even now, I have to broom them off the decks at least once a week. The only way I won’t have to broom them all winter is if I get some snow.

I look at people who blow one and two leaves at a time off their yards as though they come from another planet. Those folks would probably explode at the thought of living in the woods where they are surrounded by billions and billions of leaves.

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