May 01, 2003

Forest and Trees

There is a certain sadness that comes with the leafing of the trees as Spring creeps up the valleys and southern slopes to overwhelm even the high remote ridges here by mid-May. This blooming flood of a million living leaves...oak and spicebush, tulip poplar and ironwood, sarvice, dogwood, sumac and cherry... is already filling in the gray forms of winter trees, hiding branch, then limb, then trunk. And finally, when it is all done, and small translucent leaves have grown from the size of mouse ears to their full size and opacity, we will not be able to see into or beyond the forest for the trees.

Winter is the time here in the deciduous East to see they lay of the land, follow its contours as they fade into a distant haze, know the rise of fall of the ground under our feet and far beyond. By late Spring, the view stops at the edge of the woods in a wall of leafery. And yet, there is a kind of comfort that comes with the flood of summer greenery, with farms and silos and country homes now tucked into nooks and hollers hidden by a thousand square miles of Appalachian forest.

But already I am imagining October, when leaves let go and fall, trunks and limbs show thin and spare. At an appointed time as regular as the orbit of planets, its hair will fall and we will see the familiar wrinkles and folds of the old skin of these ancient mountains once again.

Posted by fred1st at May 1, 2003 07:34 AM | TrackBack

ya, not to mention when the leaves are on the trees it's harder to hear the streams gurgle. i love that gurgling stream sound!

Posted by: bud at May 1, 2003 08:35 AM

Here in S.C., I've noticed something else when the trees are bare: there are a lot of long-lost buildings that become visible. less than a mile from my house, there is an old barn, about 100 feet from the road, that is now completely shrouded in greenery. Two months ago, you could see it peeking through the bare trunks.

Posted by: Bryan at May 1, 2003 09:59 AM

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