trees of the forest: american beech

The other night I was walking back to the house from the tent┬áto fetch forgotten water bottles. It was around 8:15 pm, the walk lasting for the few perfect twilight moments where it’s not quite light and not quite dark. As I came around one of the curves in the trail, I was struck by all the nearly white, nearly glowing beech leaves. It was like I had entered into my own magical place and my first thought was the same as it always is when I see something amazing, especially momentarily: “I need to take a picture of this!” I always want to capture the fleeting, to save it for later, not only for my own memory, but I want someone else to see it. I want to share it.

It bugs me though, when I can’t do it, when the camera can’t see what the eye sees, or the elusive moment is gone too soon. It’s like I want proof of what I really did see.

This is what I have left to keep:

white_leaves_at_nightI went back out the next day, remembering that I had done a couple other tree posts, so I could add beech to the list. Like many of the oaks, this tree holds on to its leaves until spring. I am not sure when they will fall, maybe when the long, pointy, new buds unroll. I want to try to watch for it. Most of the leaves have faded from a light orange color to nearly white, as though they were bleached by the sun. It’s almost as though the leaves stay on just to look pretty in a sea of bare sticks.

curled_leavesbeech_branchesBesides the leaves, the thing I notice next is how long and reaching the branches are, growing nearly horizontally. From what I read, the wood makes excellent firewood and is commonly used for flooring and furniture.

beech1

I like this clump of beech trees.

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