Photo of the Week: A Wise Old Maple Tree

A Wise Old Maple TreeHalloween is a great time of year.  Aside from the copious amounts of candy exchanging hands, people show their creative sides in developing costumes and decorations.  Adults in our neighborhood joined the fun, opening doors dressed as witches, skeletons and a weird horse-headed guy.

One part of Halloween that needs a LOT more attention is the fact that people go outside to interact with other people, even for a few minutes as a Twix bar changes hands. I saw a lot of my neighbors last night for the first time, and it was pretty cool.  Maybe I’ll go around again for Veteran’s Day in a few weeks!

A neighbor that I have a lot of respect for, and that I don’t need a holiday to visit, is the forest.  Right now that neighbor is showing off a dazzling wardrobe.  Maples wear red and orange.  Birches, Tulip Poplars and Locusts sport yellow. Purple can be seen on Beeches and Sweet Gums. It is a party out there, and this week’s photo takes place in one of the trendiest venues.

Skyline Drive winds through Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, offering beautiful views on alternating sides of the car as it hugs the mountain ridges. On an Eastern slope an old maple tree greets the sunrise with its fiery foliage.  Its wind-tested trunk is gnarled and flaked with mosses. The glowing leaves provide a captivating roof over the straw-colored grasses below.

Sitting under this tree I enjoy the breeze and the warm sunlight.  I think about how many sunrises this tree has seen, and who else may have sat in this very spot to enjoy them.  How many generations of birds have called its branches home?  How many trees in the park started as flowers on this tree, riding the wind down the mountain slope?  I bet this tree has a pretty good idea, but wisely enough, it leaves the answer for my imagination.

As you empty your candy bowl, please take a moment to look outside.  Make eye contact with the prettiest tree you can see.  Pull on a jacket and introduce yourself!


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