Poetry 6-30 B-branch-1

bracing wind bare tree
branches vie for attention
nothing left to give

bare tree branches wave
against the sky become free
slice a rift in air

waving branch believes
she answers to no one else
now embraces sky




I’ve written before about how much I like to sit outside on my front steps with a tasty adult beverage (which in my case will be beer, ninety-eight per cent of the time). And since I moved in years ago, my tasty beverage-enjoying has been sheltered from the sun god by a lovely, thick maple tree.

It’s true, I have been known to disparage this tree because it’s the largest and fullest tree of the three in our yard. In the almost seven years that I have lived here, I have often wished that my little garden area got more sunlight which it would, if the maple weren’t so full and wonderfully developed.

You know what they say—be careful what you wish for. Three weeks ago, two-thirds of this magnificent tree was sacrificed for clearance of overhead power lines.

If I look only at the extra sunlight my poor garden plants now get, then it seems like a suitable trade-off. But if I look at the tree itself, then my eyes melt. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said two-thirds. I happened to walk out the door to go to work at the same time the tree-trimmers were milling about in my front yard assessing the situation.

“This isn’t good. The branches are growing straight up.”

“I’m not going to sugarcoat it—it’s going to be ugly when you get back.”

And thus it was. The tree is a shadow if its former self (unintentional pun intended). I haven’t even taken a picture of the carnage so I can’t show you, but use your imagination based on what I’ve said. I do know, though, that it has been better for my potted tomatoes.



My online friends might have noticed that I’ve been obsessing over winter’s bare trees in the last week or so. I have become fascinated with imagining the root system underground that’s comparable to the naked branches I see reaching toward the steel grey winter sky. I just think these trees are stunningly gorgeous in their seeming randomness that’s actually well-behaved fractal growth.

Large trees and small trees, they all inspire me with awe. These urban trees quite often are given very precise plots in which to grow, defined by the 3-foot by 3-foot metal grates that mark their entrance into the earth. But Mother Nature endows them with persistence.

Here is my tribute to these wonderful plant creatures. They all exist within the linear mile and three quarters between my office in the heart of downtown and my home neighborhood that’s only slightly less in the thick of things.


The tree at the very top and the tree directly above are, in fact, the same tree. I thought the vertical shot had nice composition, but the horizontal photo really shows off the branches.

All of the trees have their own personalities. The ones below I also found particularly appealing and beautiful. Each shows its own history. Maybe it has fortunate wind blockage from nearby buildings and can grow straight. Maybe it doesn’t and lists to one side. Maybe it’s in a healthy location and has grown an even crown of branches. Maybe it has to eke out a living on a dirty, busy, polluted corner and makes gasping grabs toward the sun.

If you are in a deciduous winter, go outside and revel in the beauty that has yet again been provided you by this planet we live on.




















Photos were shot as dusk approached with my iPhone 4 and processed with Camera+ app, using the Ansel filter and thin black border, because today’s mission was to share a black and white photo.

Hug a tree, in winter

December 21, 2010


I am no tree hugger—well, maybe I am more than some people—but there are no fake plastic trees in my neighborhood! I will start you with this gratuitous rabbit shot. I have come to know that a rabbit lives around these outbuildings beside my home train station. As I am leaving the platform, I stop to locate the rabbit. Tonight, it was snowing again and the pine tree was dressed up for a picture postcard, and the rabbit was giving me a nice, rabbity profile.

It is a few days before Christmas and some have been moaning about all the snow we’ve gotten already this season and about how kind of cold it’s mostly been. Well, I say, if it’s going to be cold (which it is), it may as well snow (I realized tonight after posting a different missive that I probably use “might” and “may” incorrectly in the context of statements such as the previous. I shall endeavor to do better). Unfortunately, that tripped me up with regard to getting to bowling tonight.

Last Monday, after the roads were well cleared from the seventeen inches of snow we had over the weekend, it took me an hour to make a drive that usually takes me twenty minutes, tops. So today, as five to eight new inches were predicted, with the accumulation culminating during rush hour, aka drive to bowling time, I made the decision early not to drive my four-cylinder, lightweight, manual-transmission econobox in less than ideal conditions.


On the other hand, the snow provides for wonderful visions of Mother Nature at her most beautiful, like in the opening photo, or in the photo above, from this year’s first snow in mid-November. For a day, it was a gorgeous winter wonderland. This is the lovely maple tree that’s in my front yard. It’s a beautiful tree, but it does throw a little too much shade on my gardening efforts in the warm season.

Other than the driving of my own car, which I only have to do twice a week for bowling, not commuting to work, you will be hard-pressed to get me to say negative things about winter. I like it.


I will end by coming full-circle, with what you probably knew would have to creep in at some point. This is one of my two favorite shots I’ve produced so far with Instagram, the latest apply-a-filter app. These are other pine trees next to the train station, taken after the snow we had the first week of December.

Winter is beautiful. Oh, and one time only, I hugged a tree.



April 2, 2010
June 10, 2010
November 13, 2010