Ode To An Old Friend Destroyed By Storm

Friday night’s storm took out a tree along my parents’ driveway. It fell across the road, splintering an electric pole and downing the nearby power lines and transformer.

My dad sat in the truck in their driveway Friday night, shining headlights on the tree until the county came to put up road closed signs. People drive too fast on our country road and he feared someone would hit it in the darkness.

There are now road closed signs but people are just driving past the signs only to slam on the brakes when they get to the tree. A kid on a dirt bike keeps riding up to it, seemingly to gather enough courage to drive through. He hasn’t done it yet but I wouldn’t doubt that someone will try before this is all over.

The power company says to stay back fifty feet but they have not been out to even look at the situation yet. At one point, they had over 15,000 customers without power so the small amount of darkened houses out my way probably aren’t a priority.

And so we wait.

I tell you that to say this.

That tree isn’t just a tree. It feels like we have lost a member of the family. Seeing it splayed out across the road for strangers to gawk at feels so undignified. He once stood so tall but his bare branches and exposed roots seem to shrivel in shame with each passing hour.

This mighty oak was like a kindly grandfather who provided habitat for any number of little creatures. Deer crossing the road would hesitate here, taking shelter and sniffing the air before bounding off on their way. Squirrels scurried about, teasing the dog and giving chase to each other up and down that large trunk. This grandfather tree gave shade on a hot summer day and beautified the landscape every day he lived.

We don’t know his age but he was tall and big around. My dad recalls seeing this tree in very old pictures. The rings will no doubt tell a story.

He was pulled out by the roots, leaving a large hole in the earth and a gaping hole in the landscape. This tree was a symbol of home and a friend to many. He will be missed by all who knew him.

I have made numerous photos of this tree over the years but I really like this one from last February. On this day, like many others, he presided over a world blanketed in snow and shining like diamonds. Look at the long shadow he cast.

It’s hard to believe that this view is no more.

Tree Doors

Doors capture my attention everywhere I go. Fancy or plain, it makes no difference. While I notice and photograph doors often, these are the most unusual ones I’ve had the pleasure to see in person.

You’ll find them on the entrances at Aullwood Arboretum near Dayton. I wrote about it this fall when I visited the forest giants (or trolls) that were created by artist Thomas Dambo. You can read that story here.

It’s a beautiful trail system with a nice nature center that I imagine is lovely to visit all year. It was especially pretty in the fall and I’m scheming to see it in snow this winter.

Meanwhile, if you visit, pay attention to the doors when you enter. They’re pretty fabulous.

Favorite Trees And Fading Sunset

We have enjoyed a long run of gorgeous fall days. That all ends today when it turns rainy and cooler. Tomorrow will be rainy and cold, ushering in what appears to be a long patch of cooler days and cold nights.

The rain isn’t so thrilling but it’s hard to get excited about the impending holidays when it’s 68 degrees and sunny. So I’m kind of excited to see the mercury drop and maybe stop being such a grinch. All the same, I took advantage of yesterday’s sunshine with a short walk after work at Kinnikinnick Fen near Chillicothe. I have favorite trees everywhere I go and the picture above shows one of them at the Fen.

When I came home last night, the western sky was aglow with the remnants of sunset. You can see in the silhouette that the trees have lost their leaves. These are some of my favorite trees here at home – with or without their foliage.

It was a remarkable end to the day and to this streak of fine fall days. Better pack your umbrella and put on those galoshes if you’re out and about today. You will need them!

Tree Down After A Storm

My favorite tree at Lake Alma didn’t survive the storm last week. It was there just before the storm began Thursday as I scurried around the island before thunderstorms and possible tornadoes moved into the area.

Sadly, it was down yesterday morning, literally pulled up by the roots and lying in the water.

It was a sad sight.

I have favorite things in lots of places I visit regularly. Favorite trees, rocks, patches of trillium and vistas top the list of things I look forward to with each visit to familiar places. This tree was like an old friend, one that provided shade and comfort and had great character.

It’s probably silly to mourn a tree but it brought me great joy over the years. I feel like it deserves a moment of silence and gratitude for its contribution to my life.

Whispering Tree

This tree in the Hocking Hills State Park here in Ohio always captures my imagination. Doesn’t it look like it’s uprooting itself and starting to walk away?

It reminds me of this line that was written by J.R.R. Tolkien in his popular novel The Fellowship of the Rings

“I thought all the trees were whispering to each other, passing news and plots along in an unintelligible language; and the branches swayed and groped without any wind. They do say the trees do actually move, and can surround strangers and hem them.”

It’s a fantastical idea that a tree could whisper and move and I am quite taken with the idea that this one is trying. It’s silly, I know, but sometimes a gal just needs to believe in a little magic!