Beech trees are not as magnificent as oaks nor as splendid as maples. But they have one thing going for them that neither oaks nor maples have and that would be leaves that last all through the winter. Beech leaves in winter are, of course, not green. Instead, they are pale, and they rustle and rattle when the wind blows.
Beech leaves finally fall in the spring, but there are some that are still hanging from the trees in the woods behind our house. If you look closely in the above picture, you can see new buds forming on the branches. Soon the old leaves will fall to the ground to become part of the rich soil that nourishes the trees.
This next picture of our patio is not exactly of the natural world, but I couldn’t resist posting it. (Anyway, the beech leaves fulfilled my self-imposed requirement of each day posting a nature picture during Earth Week.)
We have never had the patio entirely set up by Earth Week. Heck, some years there is still a line of snow in the backyard in mid-April. We usually aim to have everything out by mid-May, but yesterday the day was so fine—70°—that we couldn’t resist bringing up the big table, the rest of the chairs, and the citronella torches from down cellar.
From now until early fall, the patio will be our second living room, and although it is not of nature, it does put us in nature. As the trees in the picture indicates, the woods are not very far away, and when we sit on the patio, we see and hear many of the creatures who live there.
Yesterday, we were treated to a beautiful bird symphony. How the finches, cardinals, chickadees, tufted titmice, and nuthatches sang, their voices merging together to become a joyous song of spring. Their sweet song was punctuated by the percussion of the woodpeckers—Hairy, downy, pileated, and the most recent arrival to central Maine, the red-breasted woodpecker.
To borrow from Mozart, what a delight this is you cannot imagine. Or maybe you can. I suspect many readers of this blog love birds just as much as I do and listen eagerly for their song of spring.
Yesterday, after doing yard work, Clif and I celebrated by having drinks and nibbles on the patio. After a long winter of being inside, how good it was to be there, and we are looking forward to many more days and nights on the patio.
Come, spring, come.