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Posts Tagged ‘tree’

What is this thing? If I squint my eyes a little, it looks like a weathered sandstone formation on the side of a steep mountain, with beautiful colors and textures.

When reality intervenes, I have to acknowledge that this is only a tree with some kind of growth on its side. I suspect that it’s a mushroom or some other kind of fungus, but I am not sure. Maybe it’s the tree version of a tumor.

Mostly, though, I don’t worry about answering my initial question—it’s not that important for me to identify what this is. I can enjoy its beauty in an abstract way by focusing on its shape and color and texture, by looking at the highlights and the shadows.

growth_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The beavers in my local marsh have been really busy recently as winter draws near (“busy as beavers,” you might say). Each time I visit the marsh I can see evidence of their handiwork. Hmm, “handiwork” is probably not the right word, since most of the evidence I see is work they have accomplished with their teeth. Maybe I should call it “dentalwork,” but that terms conjures up images of beavers with braces on their teeth. I’ll just call it “work.”

Over the past few weeks I have been noting their progress on chewing through a pretty large tree. First they chewed one side and then it looks like they gradually moved around the circumference of the tree. Circumference? Who says that high school geometry doesn’t have everyday applications? They now have gnawed (try saying that phrase quickly multiple times) into the center of the tree and I expect to see to see a fallen tree soon. I won’t be disappointed, and certainly not crestfallen.

On a slightly more serious note, I am genuinely amazed that the beavers don’t just take down small saplings. I confess that, as a result of living most of my life in the suburbs, I don’t know much about wildlife. It’s fascinating to me to look at all of the individual tooth marks in the wood that bear witness to the persistence of this industrious creature. I also see its work in the mud walls that have been built up along the edges of parts of this little pond and the ever-increasing amounts of mud that have been packed on the lodge.

The beaver is ready for a cold winter. Am I?

Let the chips fall where they may

Let the chips fall where they may

How do they gnaw this high?

How do they gnaw this high?

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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This is a shot of a green heron in the third different location where I have seen a green heron within the past month or so, all within a five mile radius of where I live in suburban Northern Virginia, outside of Washington DC. I came upon this little guy while I was walking down a stream bed and he flew into a tree when he became aware of my presence. Luckily he was still very visible in the foliage and, in fact, the green leaves serve as a nice backdrop to highlight the beauty of this green heron.

Green Heron in a tree

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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