Posted in Earth, Eastern Shore, Hiking, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Winter, Wonder, Woods

Trees in winter

Tall and lanky
Tall and lanky

Trees in winter lose their leaves.  Some trees may even fall during storms, but most stand patiently and bear their fortune.

They endure rain, snow, wind, and cold.  They bear the adornment of glycerin raindrops, glimmering icicles, or crowns of snow without care.  They are not concerned when such lustrous splendor is dashed to the ground.  They stand, and they wait, the power of their growth apparently dormant.  But inside, a burgeoning is building imperceptibly.

~ Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao: Daily Meditations

Pine in the meadow
Pine in the meadow

To me, it’s the trees here on the Eastern Shore that make winter different from in the Bogs of Ohio.  Oh, there are other things as well.  It’s not as cold, for instance, and we don’t get nearly as much snow.  But the trees, particularly the loblolly pines, are aliens to me.

Near the little cemetery
Near the little cemetery

Well, not quite aliens anymore.  We’ve been here for a while, and the trees and I are getting to know each other.  Loblolly pines (pinus taeda) are tall and lanky (as captioned in the first image), and can grow up to 115 feet (35 meters) in height.  A few show off loblollies have grown up to 160+ feet.  The tallest known loblolly pine, topping off at 169 feet, is in Congaree National Park in South Carolina, a park I’d love to visit if M and I ever make our way back to South Carolina (we used to live in Columbia, South Carolina, once upon a time and many, many years ago when we were first married).

Did you know the word loblolly means “low, wet place?”  I didn’t either until today.  One of the old names for the loblolly pine is rosemary pine, due to its rosemary-like scent.

Woodland Trail
Woodland Trail

It’s a wonderful thing to see so much green in winter, especially as we approach that longest of all winter months: February.  February, if you’ll pardon my saying so, is a bitch.  Or at least she used to be.  I have no idea what February will be like on the peninsula.  Warmer, perhaps, than in the Bogs.  Less snow, certainly, unless something peculiar happens.

Continually adrift
Continually adrift

The loblolly pines, the wax myrtles, the hollies, the cedars, and the magnolias all look so beautiful decorated with snow.  The dried flowers in the meadows put on a show, too, especially in the early morning when the sunlight sparkles off the snow.

If you look closely, you'll see snowflakes floating off to the left of this image.
Goldenrod in winter clothing.  If you look closely, you’ll see snowflakes floating off to the left of this image.

Though a tree grows so high, the falling leaves return to the root.

~ Malay proverb

A riot of snow and trees and grasses
A riot of snow and trees and grasses

Trees, in any season, have been much on my mind lately.  I see little tree shapes in the morning frost on the windows, and even in some snowflakes.  I am frequently called to the small grove of magnolias gathered in the woods, or moved to spend time with the cedars at the edge of the marsh.  I lean into the loblollies, listening to the stories that have to tell, or just to rest and watch the birds.

On the Yellow Buoy Trail
On the Yellow Buoy Trail

Trees serve as homes for visiting devas who do not manifest in earthly bodies, but live in the fibers of the trunks and larger branches of the trees, feed from the leaves and communicate through the tree itself.  Some are permanently stationed as guardians of sacred places.

~ Hindu Deva Shastra, verse 117, Nature Devas

Between the loblolly pines and the cedars
Between the loblolly pines and the cedars

Did I tell you we have named some of the trails on the Wabi-Sabi Ranch?  We have the Woodland Trail where the little birds ate most of the grass seed and are now enjoying bird seed instead.  The Woodland Trail is our widest trail, and it takes you to the dock on Back Creek.   The Yellow Buoy trail is named for the yellow buoy hanging on the stump of a tree at the beginning (or end – depends on which way you’re going) of the trail.  You can access the Yellow Buoy trail from either end of the Woodland Trail.  You can see The Boat That Came Ashore in the Woods from either the Woodland Trail or the Yellow Buoy Trail.

The boat from the Yellow Buoy Trail.
The boat from the Yellow Buoy Trail.

There are two more trails that wind in or around the woods.  The Marsh Trail takes you through part of the marsh, and then into the woods where you can connect with the Deer Skull Trail.  The Deer Skull Trail will take you to the magnolia grove and then out to the Woodland Trail by the boardwalk to the dock.  The magnolias are not confined to this area.  There are magnolias scattered throughout the woods.  But this area has the largest magnolia of the forest and a small gathering of kin surrounding it.  I’ve taken a few pictures of the magnolias in the small grove, but nothing has come out quite right yet.  The images don’t capture the spirit of the place.  I’ll keep trying.

Peering through two loblollies.
Peering through two loblollies.

That’s it from the Wabi-Sabi Ranch on this last Thursday in January.  Thanks for visiting, and taking a walk in the woods with me.  It’s cold today, but not as cold as yesterday.  The snow will stick around for another day or two before the big thaw over the weekend.  I think it will be a good day to watch the sunset from the dock.  Meet you out there.  Sunset is at 5:23 pm, but the sun will go down behind the trees on the horizon about ten minutes before actual sunset.

Looking out over the marsh from the platform.
Looking out over the marsh from the platform.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Author:

Robin is... too many things to list, but here is a start: an artist and writer; a photographer and saunterer; a daughter and sister and granddaughter; a friend, a partner, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother; a gardener, a great and imaginative cook, and the creator of wonderful sandwiches.

18 thoughts on “Trees in winter

  1. I do like those loblolly pines Robin, as long as you have some variety as well …. here the casuarinas can become a monoculture that excludes everything else … that is where we step in and create a more varied habitat for the birds 🙂

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    1. We do have quite a mix, Christine. There are oaks, a few maples, sweet gum, and other trees I’ve not yet identified. It seems to be fairly balanced. 🙂

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  2. Love the names you’ve chosen for the paths…everything needs a name, don’t you think? Niko wants to call the trees at the back of the property The Hundred-Acre Woods…I told him that was taken, and it was more like the Single-Acre Woods, anyway…
    Keep trying on the magnolia grove photos! There was a giant single tree in my grandmothers yard…crawling beneath it was like being inside a cathedral to me 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Marie. 🙂 The names help, especially when I want M to know where I’m going to be when I go out. It would be hard to find me out there if you didn’t know where to look. I gave the magnolia grove a try again yesterday, and almost got it (except for the first ten shots or so when the camera was acting wonky, probably from the cold).

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    1. Thanks, Michaela. 🙂 The wonderful thing about the snow is that I can’t see the mess the constructions guys have made of the ground. Once it melts, though…ick.

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  3. Such a beautiful post… And tremendous thanks for sharing that Nature Deva. I had seen it years ago, but lost it. It’s sublime (and so true). I’ve saved it once again, this time for KEEPS.

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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