Posted in Air, Autumn, Change, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Gifts, Gratitude, Hiking, Life, Little Wookie, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Spirit, The Bogs, Walking & Wandering, Weather, Wonder, Woods

A Monday meander: Janes Island

Crown shyness.

But we shouldn’t be concerned about trees purely for material reasons, we should also care about them because of the little puzzles and wonders they present us with. Under the canopy of the trees, daily dramas and moving love stories are played out. Here is the last remaining piece of Nature, right on our doorstep, where adventures are to be experienced and secrets discovered. And who knows, perhaps one day the language of trees will eventually be deciphered, giving us the raw material for further amazing stories. Until then, when you take your next walk in the forest, give free rein to your imagination-in many cases, what you imagine is not so far removed from reality, after all!

~ Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees

News from the Bogs. (The Little Wookie out for a walk. Photo sent to me by M the Younger.)

It looks like they had a pretty autumn in the Bogs.  Ours has been pretty, too, but after a slow start it has been speeding by with the sudden turn of the leaves last week.  It’s as if autumn was trying to fit that stage into a few days time.  Once the leaves changed colors, they started flying.

On the way to Janes Island State Park. (If you look at the top, you can see leaves flying in the sky.)

Then again, there are areas where the leaves are barely showing any color or any inclination to leave the branches of the trees.  M and I went to Janes Island State Park for a hike on Saturday and there were hardly any autumn colors to be seen in the woods.  It was surprising.  I’m not sure if it’s the proximity to the water that accounts for it or not.  The leaves here on the ranch are changing (and flying off with the wind) even though we are close to the water.  Maybe it’s that there are more trees in the forest on Janes Island, protecting each other from the change of seasons.

Spots of autumn color here and there.

Weather-wise, it’s been a strange year.  The plants aren’t sure what to do about it.  Some of the trees put out new, spring-green leaves.  Flowers continue to bloom.  The flower garden feels odd and out of place right now with the flowers blooming and the usual flower visitors gone.  The occasional bee or butterfly do show up, but it’s not nearly as busy as usual out there.  It almost seems like a waste of good flowers.  Except it’s not.  We are still here to enjoy them.

Bright light and yellows at the edge of the woods.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that M and I also went out for a boat ride this weekend.  M wanted to go once more before putting his toy away for the winter months.  He planned the trip with me in mind so of course I didn’t say no to going along.  We went out on the Pocomoke River near one of the main bald cypress swamps to look at the trees from out on the water.  It was a gorgeous day, I took a ton of photos, and I’ll share all that with you after I clear some space on my computer so that I’ll be able to upload the photos.

Dappled light highlighting the way through the woods.

Meanwhile, back at Janes Island State Park, the trail we took is called the White-Tail Trail.  It’s an easy walk through parts of and around the perimeter of the wooded area.  You can make the hike longer by exploring the fire trails or going out by the canal and meandering around there.

Looking for color up in canopy.

I recently read an article about crown shyness in trees.  Have you heard of it?  It’s when the tops of the individual trees in the canopy don’t touch.  I’ve seen the phenomenon, but didn’t realize it has a name.  I should know that scientists and naturalists have names for pretty much everything.

Not too shy.

There are a number of theories about why it happens.  One theory involves light and photosynthesis.  The trees, in a sense, make an agreement to share the light and they honor it by not overlapping and touching each other.

Are these trees cooperating with each other?

Another theory is that the trees practice a kind of reciprocal pruning in areas where there is a lot of wind.  As the tree branches knock into each other, branches fall and that opens up space in the canopy between the trees.  Whatever the reason, it’s interesting to look at, especially in photos where you can see what some refer to as a “backlit jigsaw puzzle effect.”  (That’s attributed to the Smithsonian in a couple of articles, but I can’t find the actual source.)

The beech trees in the park showed no sign of change.

Saturday was a beautiful day for a hike.  It was windy, but clear and sunny.  A perfect day to spend in the woods.

Looking up through the leaves of a beech.

Forest air is the epitome of healthy air. People who want to take a deep breath of fresh air or engage in physical activity in a particularly agreeable atmosphere step out into the forest. There’s every reason to do so. The air truly is considerably cleaner under the trees, because the trees act as huge air filters. Their leaves and needles hang in a steady breeze, catching large and small particles as they float by. Per year and square mile this can amount to 20,000 tons of material. Trees trap so much because their canopy presents such a large surface area.

~ Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees

Hasn’t received the memo regarding autumn yet.

Thank you for stopping by and joining me on another meander today.  It is dark and rainy today so I don’t think it’s likely we’ll see the sunset.  With the time change over the weekend, sunset has moved to 5:01 PM.  I’ll keep an eye out and if it looks good, meet you at the Point.  Sometimes rainy days bring us magnificent sunsets.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂  And, if you’re in the U.S. and you haven’t done so already, please vote tomorrow.

Stretching up and out.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  926)  A walk in the rain.  It’s fairly warm here today so I didn’t mind getting wet.  927)  Splashing in puddles.  Because I can.  928)  Falling back.  I like it when it’s light in the early morning hours (since I’m awake and up during the early morning hours).  I also enjoyed that extra hour being returned to me.  I wouldn’t mind, though, if we just stopped fussing with the time and leave it as is rather than springing forward and falling back.  929)  Stewed apples with walnuts and cinnamon for breakfast.  930)  Learning about crown shyness.  Now I know a tiny bit more about trees.

Back to looking where I’m going rather than up at the tree tops.


Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, yoga teacher, sometime poet, wife, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She shares her daily walks and meanders, a lot of quotes, some of her artwork, and a lot of her photography here on Ye Olde Blogge. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are (still!) in the midst of renovating the house and cleaning up the property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

12 thoughts on “A Monday meander: Janes Island

  1. I love looking up through trees, so thank you for your lovely photos! I have heard of crown shyness, but thank you for reminding me. 🙂
    I don’t feel like I’m getting an extra hour. Yesterday and today, the cats and I woke up at 4–then I kicked them out and tried to sleep a bit longer–till 5 at least. Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A nice meander! I think the weather has confused the trees this year. Ours were much later turning as well. This weekend’s wind and rain, tore a lot of what was left down. We even lost power, but thankfully we have a generator (the best investment ever).
    I loved reading “The Hidden Life of Trees” – written by a kindred soul. One of my all-time favorites. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Eliza. 🙂 We haven’t yet invested in a generator and we really ought to. We haven’t had many power outages here. We had them more often in NE Ohio. That is likely due to the fact that they have put a lot of the power lines underground here. Not all of them, though, and that meant some mowing and cutting down of trees this year. We are going to plant wildflowers where they ground down everything at the front of the property. Just need to get down to the local nursery that has a native wildflower mix.

      Liked by 1 person

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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