Monday, April 16, 2012
It's spring just about everywhere in the northern hemisphere now and most of you are seeing new leaves. Since Halifax is more northerly our trees are still bare and even so there aren't many around here that look like these, but this morning I found myself thinking about copper beech trees, my favorites, and the first time I really noticed one. We lived in Providence at the time and had just moved to a new neighborhood where there were some very large houses a few blocks away from our small house.
One particularly large and very old place was set far back from the sidewalk and in front of it was a tree like none I'd ever noticed before. It was huge - at least 100 feet tall, much taller than the large house it sheltered, with a crown equally wide. The massive trunk, probably 10 feet around, pale gray and quite smooth had thick branches spreading from it not far above the grass. For someone as afraid of heights as me this one looked like a friendly tree to climb. I've learned since that they normally live about 200 years, although there are many much older. Furthermore, they don't begin to flower and bear fruit (in their case, nuts) until they're between 30-80 years old. I suspect the main reason they aren't more common in our cities is the fact they get so big.
Something that's especially wonderful about all trees is the fact that they're perfectly formed to allow the most light to reach every growing part of themselves. It would be a good thing if our towns and especially our cities were designed the same way. I don't mean we should live in tree houses, although that would be nice, but that we weren't subjected to so much darkness because of all the towering slabs made of concrete that shadow us.
I've been reading about ways of building and building codes that were in common practice until very recently. I'll tell you about next time. Meanwhile, enjoy the nice weather and new growth wherever you are.
Do you have a favorite tree? There's plenty of room in this one.