Nope, I am not referring to the rock group, Barenaked Ladies. Or those groups of oldies but goodies who bare all for calendar sales. I am talking about average, everyday deciduous trees during the two seasons when they have shed their clothes.
Deciduous means “falling off at maturity” or “tending to fall off” – deriving from the Latin word decidere, to fall off. The term is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally.
Of course, I prefer to look at the deciduous trees since they are the ones that hold the most fascination for me.
Oriental Plane (cousin to the Sycamore) in East Swinney Park
I love the sight of trees standing in the cold winter air – their feathered tops breaking the bleak, still, bitter, winter skyline. My eyes are always drawn to the sky in the winter when I am out on the highways traveling. Without leaves, the trees sport their bones, some crooked, some balanced, but all amazing structures.
Trees are truly a wonder. They start from seeds – many half the size of a penny – and sink their tiny roots in the ground. Anyone who has ever ignored a seedling and let it grow to a fair size knows the struggle it takes to remove it. Trees send roots under sidewalks and streets and into home foundations, worming their way upward creating bulges. They are sturdy, adaptable creatures found in almost every corner of our world.
Spring is now here, bringing forth bright green dressings to deck the trees, clothing them once again in their plump appendages that wave in the summer breeze and hang lazily overhead to shade us from the summer heat. The bones will disappear amid the donning of their cloaks of green, and I will have to wait, once again, for the cold temperatures of fall and winter to create the feathery skyline which I so love and admire.
Oriental Plane (cousin to the Sycamore) across the street from my home
The tree above, which guards a corner on Thieme Drive across from home, is close to one hundred years old. It was planted as part of a parks and boulevard system developed by George Kessler around 1911. What a magnificent specimen! The tree sheds its bark every so often, and I like to gather it for craft projects. The bark is amazingly beautiful with a mottled look. When brushed with a stain or sealant, it takes on a deep, brown color.
Stand of trees at Collamer, Indiana
Multi-trunk tree at Collamer, Indiana
Tree along the River Road near South Whitley, Indiana