My sister took this photo while she and her husband were enjoying their month-long stay in Paris.
And I took this photo of a 150-year-old cottonwood in Colorado Springs. Next to the tree was this sign:
“Look up! Above this tall old tree’s trunk, branches sway steadily, triangular leaves dance in the breeze creating music and ancient tales are whispered on the wind. Plains cottonwood trees were a sign to early western settlers that water was nearby. Cottonwooed trees make good use of water, growing rapidly each year. This tree measures 20 feet around its trunk, stands five stories tall and is about 150 years old. It has survived the turn of two centuries! cotton-like seeds from female trees give cottonwoods their name. The tree above you, however, is a male tree and produces only red catkin flowers in the spring.“
“Lying there among the trees, despite a learned wariness towards anthropomorphism, I find it hard not to imagine these arboreal relations in terms of tenderness, generosity and even love: the respectful distance of their shy crowns, the kissing branches that have pleached with one another, the unseen connections forged by root and hyphae between seemingly distant trees. I remember something Louis de Bernières has written about a relationship that endured into old age: “we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.” As someone lucky to live in a long love, I recognize that gradual growing-towards and subterranean intertwining; the things that do not need to be said between us, the unspoken communication which can sometimes tilt troublingly towards silence, and the sharing of both happiness and pain. I think of good love as something that roots, not rots, over time, and of the hyphae that are weaving through the ground below me, reaching out through the soil in search of mergings. Theirs, too, seems to me then a version of love’s work.“
And soon I will be on Martha’s Vineyard, working with my godson Jacob and his family. This is a photo that I book there of the beetlebung trees in November.
I have loved reading and highly recommend The Hidden Lives of Trees and Songs of Trees – both poetic and rich writings about our arboreal friends. Each fall I celebrate the colors and then mourn the leaves as they fall. Our deep red maple dropped its leaves almost one at a time, like ruby tears, after the first frost. Now, as I look out, its remaining leaves are paler, dry and cupped, holding firm until the first snow.