Saturday, October 15, 2016
Early Fall in Herrontown Woods
These are photos from recent walks in Herrontown Woods. With most trees still green, the early turnings really stick out. In fall, the woods becomes color coded, with each kind of tree or shrub announcing its identity, so that one can grasp their numbers in a single glance. Here's a radiant dogwood, all alone with its bright orange.
Closer to the Veblen cottage, a similarly intense flash of bright red in deep woods turned out to be a black gum tree (Nyssa sylvatica).
Mushrooms cluster in aesthetic ways on fallen logs,
or rise straight from the earth.
All that sequestered carbon in fallen trees slowly gets consumed, metabolized, and returned to the air, in time to be photosynthesized back into sugars by the trees and other plants, in a cycle that's as beautiful intellectually as it is aesthetically. How incredibly elegant that the carbon in wood yields its energy to living things, then "takes wing" as a gas to drift skyward and be so naturally and effortlessly delivered to plants for reincorporation into living tissue.
At Veblen House, the butternuts had a good year, after we gave them more protection from the deer.
The last photo is of a Kentucky Coffee Tree, discovered growing in the field next to the Veblen House. Its 3 foot long, many leafleted leaves make patterns on the patterned sky in late afternoon.