Posts Tagged ‘branches’

The Tired Trees

The trees are tired and who can blame them?  Scorched by the sun last week and then ravaged by the wind on the weekend, they’re ready to retire for the season.

Up close the leaves look blemished, nibbled by insects and tattered by the wind.  They’ve seen better days.  As the leaves have yet to turn color for the fall, after Hurricane Earl departed it was odd to see so many green ones covering the forest floor.

Earl’s high winds beat many of the trees to the ground.  Some tried their best to accommodate the wind by bending,  but even a young tree can only bend so far before it’s folded in half and unable to get back up again.

Lulled to sleep by the soft buzz of chainsaws in the distance, some have become logs, ready for the deep rest that comes once one is covered with mosses.  

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do. ~Willa Cather

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ignoramus:  [Latin] one who cannot or will not follow complexity

The image of a tree usually comes to mind whenever we think of a branch, yet this shape is not limited to trees or even the realm of botany where it is sometimes called a ramus.  Deer antlers, lung bronchi, veins and coral are some of the many things on the planet that are found in the shape of branches.

coral and seaweed

Many examples can be found in the woods and along the seashore in Nova Scotia.  Ferns, seaweed, tree limbs and roots all reveal the branch shape, which, in its simplest form, involves a division of one stem into two parts.  Each part can divide itself again, becoming more and more complex with each subsequent division.  Other words used to describe types of branches include sprig, spray, twig and bough.  In mathematics, branches are known as approximate fractals.

balsam fir

The branch is one of several interesting shapes that are found repeatedly in nature.  These shapes often form exquisite patterns and many are building blocks for larger things.  In previous weeks I’ve written about the spiral and the meander

In the Saturdays between now and mid-summer’s eve, I’ll explore a number of other shapes found in nature as a lead-up to a Summer Scavenger Hunt. Details of the hunt will be disclosed on June 20th, Midsummer’s Eve.  There will be prizes.

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