Friday, February 5, 2016

All Over But the Shoutin'

Actually, its been all but over for some time.  My walks around my Brockton neighborhood have changed over the months, as first one tree and then another finished dispersing its offspring, and then colored (or not) and dropped its foliage.

Milkweed, red maple, sugar maple, bittersweet, nightshade.

November began with milkweed pods bursting, and some sugar maples and oaks in their glory, followed by bittersweet revealing its red inner fruit and nightshade sporting brilliant berries, but ended with fewer and fewer trees clinging to shreds of color.  December saw a few cheerful flowers still adorning the witchhazel on the corner, at the same time the basswood trees finally completed their annual mission of sending their children hang-gliding away to their fates. In January all leaves were gone but those in a few oaks destined to last the winter and fall at the bursting of new buds.  The patient white ash and eastern hemlock trees launched the last of their children into the cold and dark.  Now, in February, the only fruit on the trees belongs to gray and paper birch, and a tattered few samaras on the ash-leaved maples.  (These last seem always a little confused about the season.)

Nightshade berries, ash samaras hanging and one on the pavement,
basswood with its hang-gliding fruits ready to launch, witchhazel flower,
eastern hemlock cones, paper birch, ash-leaved maple with a samara on the pavement.

My walks are swifter now, and my camera seldom comes out of my pocket.  How long before the paper birches and gray birches are done? I wonder.  Are there any cones still closed on the eastern hemlocks?  Have the tattered samaras on the ash-leaved maples finally fallen?  

The trees sleep in the cold and wind, waiting for spring. 

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