Posted by: atowhee | October 20, 2019


“If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.” 

“I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.” ~Henry David Thoreau

I find I cannot escape trees these days.  Not that I would want to.
Here in the Willamette Valley the soft wood trees are leaf loosening.  Gold and orange and scarlet and buttery yellow parts are being shed.  The bold green of the chlorophyll is gone from ash and alder, willow and aspen, maple and dogwood.

Both images above from Joe Dancer Park, McMinnville.  These tree are all exotics. Here is one of our local ash trees, same park:IMG_5170

Yesterday, as I drove over the crest of the Cascades, there was a bit of snow, a rainbow over Detroit Lake…and the highway had traffic furrows through the layers of maple leaves, pulverized  by tires into a golden batter bordering the pavement and delineating the center between opposing lanes.  Even under pewter skies the bold yellow of the maples shone brightly against the wall of dark green Douglas firs.IMG_5242

The snow was falling at Santiam Summit, just over 4800 feet in elevation.
East of the Cascades’ crest you may find larches.  They are our only deciduous conifer native to Oregon.  Their golden needles decorate the side roads that tunnel through the towering ponderosa:

Here is a photo along the Deschutes River in Bend.  At this time of year the smaller quaking aspen finally gets to outshine its bigger neighbors.aspen outshinesdes rivr (2)

It is worth a bit of marveling–the aspen, alone among Oregonian trees, has chlorophyll on both top and bottom of its leaves so no matter how they wave in the wind photosynthesis is always going on during the green months.

BOOKS ARE MADE FROM TREES, BOOKS CAN RELATE US TO TREESOVERSTORY CVRI recently finished reading this Pulitzer Prize winning novel.  A love song, a eulogy, a condemnation of our species, a call for hope and supporting effort.   A look at all of us and our use and abuse of and need to save them if we are to survive.

Some related links on Overstory and its author.  Oregon Public Radio interview with author, click here.

Author bio on his own website, click here.
Literaryhub interview with author, click here.
Three book reviews, click here.
Powers wins Pulitzer, click here.


Some non-fiction books about trees that I recommend:


Hidden Life tells much of the current science of trees and how they co-operate, assess their environment, deal with friends and enemies.  Oak tells how crucial this tree has been to cultures in the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere.  Think sailing ships as one crucial example. Primeval tells the story of what life would have been like over millennia in one small part of the Oregon Cascades.


  1. Reblogged this on Wolf's Birding and Bonsai Blog.

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