Wednesday, May 11, 2016

it only comes once a year

Fagus grandifolia

"American beech"

Leaf-out is always a deeply inspiring time of year for me,
and beech leaf-out is one of my favorite miracles.

Beech is one of my favorite hardwoods anyway, at any season and at all stages of its life. I love every shade of every color in the leaves, and the cool, smooth grey of the boles and branches.

I love the way some of the leaves will remain on beeches throughout Autumn and Winter, dried and shaped by the prevailing winds until the entire tree takes on a sculptural quality. On a calm Winter's day without a breath of a breeze, the beech still appears to be in motion. It's a brilliant artistic collaboration between the trees and the wind.

And it's all beginning again, right now.
Right this minute.
Once it begins, beech leaf-out happens very quickly.


I am so glad I had the chance to see it again.

These pictures are all from a couple of young beech saplings, about ten feet tall, that I saw on my walk with Piper this morning. The black flies are terrible right now, so this was the only time I stood still for more than a few seconds; the rest of our walk was at a fairly steady pace.

It was apparently exhausting.

Well...not really. I'd like to pretend I walked so far and so fast that I wore Piper out, but in fact this Extreme Nap was the result of the big lunch she had when we got home.