Walking In The Woods On The First Day of Spring

I walked on my neighbor’s path to avoid the ticks who were out in full force with the warm weather.  The swamp is still frozen on this first day of spring.  The ice, like thick islands floating in the spring melt.

Parts of the path were flooded with runoff and we had to climb over a few fallen trees from the last winds storm. But the moss in the swamp is bright green and soon the skunk cabbage will be popping up.

When I called Fate, who had disappeared in the woods, she came running back with a deer bone in her mouth.  She dropped it when I asked her to.  It must not have been too tasty.

I looked at all the beech trees still holding onto their leaves as if seeing them for the first time.  And in a way I was. For years I thought they were aspens.  Now that I know their true identity, the woods look a little different.

I’m not sure why they should, the trees are the same.  I think it’s because I also understand their place in the forest.  How they grow in the shade of the white pines, who were some of the first trees to grow back when the cleared fields were abandoned by farmers.

It’s like finding out something new thing about a friend I’ve known for years.  Suddenly I’m able to see beyond my experience with the person, getting a glimpse into their past that helps me to understand them a little better.

I’m not sure what the spiral patterns are on this tree.  It’s could be some kind of disease. I don’t remember seeing it before.  I’ll have to keep an eye out and see if I can find it anywhere else.


12 thoughts on “Walking In The Woods On The First Day of Spring

  1. Hi Maria,
    I asked my husband , a forester, what might have caused the spiral pattern in the bark. He says it’s most likely some type of insect. They make some interesting patterns when they attack the tree. Hope this info helps.

    1. Thank you Ruth and your husband too. Insects to leave such interesting marks. Even though they kill the Ash trees, the lines the beetles leave always intrigue me.

  2. I love that you are using all your senses to absorb natural on your walks and share it with us. Very inspiring

  3. When I first moved to the east, after living my whole life in California (with a short stint in Arizona), I wasn’t used to deciduous woods. My first winter I thought it was weird how some of the trees held on to their leaves all throughout the season until spring. I thought maybe the trees were dying! Then I learned about beeches (and some others) and now see them with their buff colored leaves, sometimes covered in snow, as part of the landscape during winter. Someone once told me that beech trees hang on to their leaves like that until they’re old enough to produce beechnuts. There’s extra protection for the tree when young if the leaves stay on until spring. I don’t know if that’s true, but I thought it was an interesting concept. These are beautiful images.

    1. It makes sense to think the trees were dying Therese. I learned that oak trees have a tendency to hold onto a few of their leaves too. Since I heard that I see that it’s true. It’s interesting about the leave and nuts. I bet now that you mentioned it, I’ll come across that idea again. I’ll let you know if I do.

  4. Hi Maria – it’s called target canker and it’s a fungus that attacks red maple trees. The concentric circles are formed by the tree defending itself from the fungus. I found info about the cause of the pattern on several tree sites but none of them mentioned that the fungus would kill the tree.

    1. Wow, Gail, that’s wild. Thanks for letting me know I’m going to look into it more. I’m so curious how the circles keep the fungus from growing.

  5. ah “I think it’s because I also understand their place in the forest”, something I always aspire to but often fall short of. Trees are now thought to grow in communities. The beeches and some oaks always keep their tan or brown leaves on all winter rattling in the wind, only to be pushed off by the newly emerging leaves in the spring.

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