Wednesday, October 18, 2006
autumn's last hurrah
Growing up in the suburbs, I didn't know for a long time that tamaracks existed. I remember my dad getting all excited about "discovering" a tamarack bog in a city park just a mile or so from downtown Minneapolis, on one of his weekly bike rides. I went to college in the southern part of the state, beyond the tamarack's range in this state, and went on to graduate school in South Dakota, where trees are a rarity. ;) When we bought our land here, I was finally botanically aware enough to know that we had some tamaracks around, and from my job I had learned that their wood makes good, long lasting poles.
Still, it has taken a few years of living here, being in touch with the land on an everyday basis, to really know tamaracks. I mean, they are interesting trees; they are the only conifer that completely sheds its needles annually. They do this with quite a brilliant display of gold in the fall, that typically occurs about a week after all the other, deciduous trees have completely lost their leaves. They also turn a unique shade of green in the spring, as the new needles emerge, right about the time other trees are just starting to leaf out. And, there is some variation in tamarack stands; I know of one down on the corner three miles away that is still a light green in color, and last year had shreds of gold at least until December.
Our new house is right in front of a stand of mature tamaracks that extends north to the creek. However, this stand does not show the brightness of gold like some of the younger stands do.
Shine on. Lighten these last days of autumn.