Beautiful Trees and Their Textures
Beautiful Angel Oak Tree
A Closer Look at Trees
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree...
from the poem by Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)
These famous lines are the beginning of a poem, Trees, written by Joyce Kilmer in 1913. Trees have inspired poets, writers, photographers and artists through the ages. Perhaps there is a tree that inspires you?
Although I love flowering trees and trees that wear glorious colors in the autumn, my inspiration comes from the texture of trees. I love the shapes of trees, like the beautiful Angel Oak tree below. But most of all, I love to take a closer look at trees to appreciate the grain of the wood and the tiny mosses and lichens that they host. Below, I've shared some of the trees and textures that inspire me.
The 1,500 year old Angel Oak Tree
The Angel Oak Tree on John’s Island, SC near Charleston is a 1,500 year old live oak tree. It is the oldest living thing east of the Rocky Mountains. The trunk of this amazing tree has a circumference of 25 feet. The branches spread 160 feet across and cover 17,100 square feet of ground. It is 65 feet tall. In spite of all these statistics, there is nothing that can impress you as much as standing in the little park and viewing this majestic tree in person.
The 1,500 year old Angel Oak Tree in John's Island, South Carolina
Spanish Moss - Not Moss, Not Spanish!
Spanish moss, found in humid areas of the Southeastern United States, is a common sight in Georgia, Florida and other southern states. It drapes live oaks and some other trees in romantic lace that turns from gray to green when it rains. Spanish moss is not related to mosses or lichen, but is classified as a bromeliad. Although it can slow the growth rate of trees because it blocks the sunlight, it doesn't harm the trees. It lives on air and sunlight and rain. There's something magical about that.
Spanish Moss - A Bromelaid Mistaken for a Moss
Trees Are Survivors
The trees below are stripped of bark and leaves, but their size and twisted branches and trunks are proof of the hardships they endured before finally dying. The turns in the branches and twisted grain in the tree trunks are from strong winds constantly pushing at the trees. These trees are in Louisiana in Fountainebleau State Park located on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain not far from New Orleans. They survived many hurricanes before they finally gave up.
Twisted trunks and branches are the result of hurrican force winds twisting them
Driftwood on the Beach
Driftwood on the beach in North Carolina is frayed and damp. What was once a tree decked out in beautiful leaves or fragrant needles is now an unidentifiable piece of driftwood lying on the sand. But its life is not over. Someone is sure to come along and notice that this beautiful piece of driftwood is nature's sculpture, and that will make a beautiful landscaping centerpiece in a lawn or flower bed.
Driftwood on a North Carolina Beach
The Texture of Tees
Trees dress the landscape with their texture, colors, shapes and beauty all year around. I particularly love the textures of trees. I enjoy looking at the bark and grain of the wood closeup, examining the bark and the lichen and mosses that grow on live trees or old deadwood. When wood is wet, the textures and grains are more prominent. Wood will darken and interesting mosses and lichens will seem brighter. There is no better time to look closely at trees than in the rain or after a rain.
Lichen is bright on trees wet after a rain
Trees of the Hoh Rainforest Host Numerous forms of plant and wildlife
In the Hoh rain forest, part of the Olympic National Park in Washington, trees are covered with mosses, ferns and lichen. Bromeliads hang from the branches forming a mystical, other-world effect. Even the fallen, rotting trees are nurseries to new growth, providing nutrients and shelter for young trees.
Trees of the Hoh Rainforest
An Ancient Cedar Tree Survives
This ancient cedar tree is twisted and frayed. The wood grain is splintered and rough on the trunk and branches, yet it tenaciously clings to life. There's something heartening about seeing the clusters of green leaves on this beautiful old tree.
An Ancient Cedar Tree in Sedona
Pine Trees in the Springtime
Have you ever looked closely at the evergreen trees in the spring? Their needles brighten and the beginnings of pine cones are evident in the pretty buds tinged with pink and yellow. Look closely, and you will see the odd formations that will someday be the dry pine cones that you might collect for your fall and holiday decorations.
Pine Tree Buds
A Fresh Look at Trees
I hope that these photographs have given you a fresh look at trees. Perhaps they will inspire you to write a poem, paint a picture or imagine a story. Perhaps you'll be inspired to take your camera out in the rain and take a walk in the woods.
Enjoy the trees around you through the changing seasons, but don't forget to take a closer look - there's much more to see!
Copyright ©2011 Stephanie Henkel
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