It is said that Xenophon halted his army for an entire day to admire the beauty of a single sycamore tree. I think of him whenever I see the leopard camouflage of one of our loveliest native trees. What a color scheme that would be for a bedroom. Mushroom gray walls, cream trim. Why, that's the color scheme in my bedroom! Knew I got it from somewhere.
Paler as you go up.
This sycamore gets the Perseverence award. It had been a huge tree, which must have fallen and rotted out.
Only one side, the back side, was still alive, and that side sent up two very robust shoots which went on to become sturdy if unlikely looking trees. Amazing. With trees, it's hard to tell when they're really dead. If you haven't heard my NPR commentary on that subject, you can hear it here.
Walking on, we found an unusual plant on the banks of the creek. I remembered it from my childhood in Virginia--a southern thing. It's Burning Bush, Euonymus atropurpureus.
Such lovely, glowing fruits! The green twigs are distinctive, as well as their opposite arrangement. Shila and I had found a nice bower of E. obovatus the week before, in the middle of the woods. We weren't expecting either species. And each are native, which makes it that much nicer. Just goes to show you what you find when you get out.
The star of the hike was the witch hazel, all abloom. Fabulous.
The lanky flowers smell of fresh ditto paper to me. Of course only those of us old enough to have had our tests run off on a ditto machine, those of us old enough to take the still cool and moist purple-blue papers, smash them to our noses, and huff the vapors in ecstasy, will know what I mean.
*Many thanks to alert reader Wayne for explaining that mimeo machines used black ink, and were used for runs of 500 sheets or more. The heady purple-inked papers we huffed were from ditto machines, or spirit duplicators. Dude. Spirit duplicators. What a name.
The Science Chimp, caught out twice in one post! Dang!
Witch hazel. Ahhh. It takes me back to elementary school.