Monday, February 23, 2009

Trees Who Walk and Other Strangeness...

They call them "walking trees"...

This is a "walking red maple". Yeah, it really does look like it stood up and started walking. Almost like one of John Wyndham's triffids. But it's not walking. It didn't get up and start moving around the forest. A religionist might tell you that some god put it there, just so. But that would be silly--like looking at it in the way of a moron rather than as a considering human. Much in the way, I suppose, people figured in the days before Charles Darwin.

Haha! The walking maple!!

What really happened was this:

The red maple started up on what we call a "nursery log". These are the fallen trees within a normal, healthy forest. Sometimes trees just die of natural causes. They weaken, fall down, go boom. When they end up in such a way, lying on the forest floor, (or along a waterway, as in this case), they often become haven to new saplings who end up on the body of the fallen tree. The dead trees form a great matrix on which to grow and thrive, providing a good habitat for the new trees growing along its girth.

In such a way did this red maple end up on a fallen cypress tree. We can figure that it was a cypress tree because this is prime cypress habitat and this maple obviously stood upon something that was very resistant to rot for a very long time, but which finally disintegrated under the constant attack of microbes and insects and weather. And cypress wood will resist these factors for a very long time, indeed. However, at some point, the corpse of that cypress nursery log finally fled into the earth and to the water and into the very trees who lived upon its body. The roots of the red maple, having gripped the cypress for so many years now stand astride merely the ghost of that absent nursery log. And it looks like nothing so much as if it is walking along the edge of the water.

(Tomorrow, the invasive who must go. Hint: They have great fangs and are scary.)

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