Willow: Graceful Gold

Posted by on Nov 18, 2014 in fall, leaves, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

An empty parking lot behind the Salvation Army in Glenville, NY. Blacktop edged with flattened plastic water bottles and tattered plastic bags. Not exactly a destination spot. Not the sort of place you expect to find beauty.willow tree

Yet there it is. A willow tree–a work of art. Long graceful branches, slender leaves as yellow as lemons. The last trace of autumn gold before the snow comes to bury it.

There are many species of willows–which one is this? Not sure. Not a weeping willow–those are easy to identify—can’t miss those long flowing tresses. This is one of the native species of willow, with drooping, flexible branches but not as mournful as a weeper.272

Willow leaves are slim, slender, graceful…well, willowy. In fall they turn a pure yellow color, freckled here and there with brown, with a saw-toothed edge so perfect it seems to have come from a machine shop. They lie like bits of sunshine scattered around the parking lot on this cold, clear day.

Willows love water–riverbanks, swamps, wetlands. They’re fast growing trees, their long roots soaking up moisture to fuel their rapid growth. So what is this willow doing here in this dry, gravelled parking lot? I suppose just enough water  flows down the blacktop hill, and puddles at the bottom of the sloping parking lot–just enough run-off for a mini-wetland where a willow can take root. 268

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