I love trees. It doesn't strike me as incongruous that a woodworker would love trees, although some of my non-woodworking, tree-loving friends have commented on it, and some of my woodworking associates are at times taken aback by my enthusiasm. You see, I don't just love trees in the abstract, as most woodworkers do. Who wouldn't love the very idea of huge plants that make a material like wood to hold their leaves up in the sunlight so they can photosynthesize: a material that we can use to make furniture, utensils, tools, paper, houses? Yes, that's wonderful.
But when I say “I love trees” I also mean individual trees, as individuals. Walking in the woods of northern Wisconsin yesterday I ran into a bunch of trees with great . . . personality is really all I can say. Some of these trees I have known and loved for years; others I encountered for the first time on yesterday's walk. So I tried making a few portraits. Click through to see some of yesterday's images.
Witch's broom. Who's riding it?
Where the Ice Age Trail will eventually cross an intermittent stream.
A pair of elusive shagbark maples enjoying some early spring sun.
Heartbreaking - - a magnificent old tamarack recently died and the white flecks are some fungus erupting from the corpse.
A white cedar watches over a group of young black ash as they encircle the last ice in the pothole where they live.
Speaking of young black ash!
Another youngster . . . actually don't let the youthful look fool you. Hemlocks can wait a long, long time in the shade for their chance to get some real sunshine. The white birch in the background may in fact be half the age of the hemlock, but it's in decline and won't be around many more years.
I've photographed this yellow birch before, with snow stuck in its bark.