Monday, September 21, 2009

Live Oaks & Southern Magnolias

I don't really miss the low country where I was born and where I lived off and on over the years. The lay of the land doesn't appeal to me, and the weather is pretty much as hideous as it gets (in my experience). The soil is a fine mixture of sand and filth, the flatness of the terrain frustrates me in a way that's hard to describe, and the humidity and vast swarms of angry, biting insects make me wonder why people want to retire there.

However, one thing that I do enjoy about the coastal plains of the deep South are the live oaks and southern magnolias. If there's a more striking and picturesque thing than a maritime southern tree, I've yet to encounter it. Just about every old live oak seems to be in some state of dramatic pose--like a practiced actor vying for maximum praise and attention. And the magnolias do a years-long pirouette as they do what they can to survive the storms.

And the older examples of those species are just fun to ponder. The twists and turns of the vast, reaching branches. The moss covered leaves rattling in the wind. The enormous trunks coated in fine moss and emerald ferns. Sometimes it's worth a trip down there just to take in a live oak or two.

One can't take a proper photograph of an old live oak. The crazed geometry of them are just too complicated to compose in a single closeup.

A longer range view of this live oak.

When I was a kid I always liked magnolia trees for the simple reason that they're so darned easy to climb!

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