December 19, 2018

I don’t know when I first began to really know trees.  As a youngster, I was literally a snake-in-my-pocket sort of kid.  Yeah, could not get enough snakes in my life. I was blooming as a broader young naturalist in my later elementary years, and I do remember leading a walk for a small group of people on some open land near where I grew up north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  On that walk I remember being asked the identity of a smooth, light grey barked tree in the forest.  I didn’t know the answer, but I told them it was paper birch. But in fact it was American beech.  Occasionally you have to watch out for what naturalists are telling you, as they will make up facts to make for a good hike.  I continue to apologize to American beech trees to this day.

By the time I was a high school freshman it was clear that I was falling in love.  My new love was especially beautiful in spring and fall.  A member of rich, moist, climax for...

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