Portrait of a maple



Maples produce seeds or “keys,” designed to spin like helicopter blades.  Strong winds carry them great distances.  Foresters class the family as invasive “pioneers,” being among the first to colonize cleared ground.

~ Daniel Butler, How to Plant a Tree

Moving towards the woods

Moving towards the woods

At the western entrance to the woods, there is an old maple who seems to be standing guard.  We have quite a few maples, in quite a few varieties, scattered around the property, but the old sentinel of the woods has been seizing my attention lately.  You can’t see it very clearly in the above photo as the base of the tree, to the left, is hidden by a thicket of smaller trees growing at the periphery of the woods.



Although maple wood does tend to be very hard and brittle, the grain can be extremely attractive and the timber resonates very well, making it a natural choice for violins, guitars, and drum casings.

~ Daniel Butler, How to Plant a Tree

Skyward II

Skyward II

I spent some time with the old maple this morning, walking around and admiring its size and scope and stature.  There are a lot of markings on the tree, all of them natural, but some look almost like petroglyphs, if petroglyphs were carved into a tree rather than a rock.

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Maple trees balance the yin and yang, the electrical and the magnetic.  This tree’s spirit and the archetypal energies behind it help the individual to ground psychic and spiritual energies and to find practical means of expressing them within their lives.

~ Ted Andrews, Nature-Speak

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I’m not sure what variety of maple this tree happens to be.  I think it is a silver (or water) maple.  The silver maple, native to and found throughout all of Ohio, can grow up to 80 feet tall and 60 feet wide.  It’s a pretty impressive tree, although it is prone to storm damage due to its brittle branches.



Some of the liabilities listed for the silver maple, aside from brittle branches, are heavy seed litter and the tree quickly reaching dimensions beyond what was intended when planted.  Squirrels, chipmunks, and some birds may beg to differ regarding the heavy seed litter as they are a food source for those little critters.  Beaver and deer like to eat the bark.  The silver maple produces a lot of cavities which make good homes for squirrels, raccoons, opposums, woodpeckers, and owls.

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In the woods, size is not a drawback.  Near a house, it most certainly can be.  When M and I lived in southern Ohio, we had a huge silver maple in our backyard that was planted far too close to the house.  It caused us quite a bit of grief, branches crashing into the house and piercing the roof or siding, until we had a tree expert come out and put cables in the tree which helped support the largest branches.

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At the foot of the old sentinel in the woods, you’ll find mosses, fungi, and Virginia Creeper vines.  The way the base is spread and shaped, it almost looks as though the tree has feet.

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The beautiful maples have the energies of sweet promises and aspirations.  They awaken the inner fire, which illuminates without burning.  Maples remind us to keep a balance between our masculine and feminine side.  When they are in balance, our intuition is sharper, our creativity is stronger, and we are healthier.

~ Ted Andrews, Animal Speak

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You’re probably wondering why I’m dedicating a whole post to a single tree.  That’s easy.  The tree seemed to want a blog post to itself.  I never turn down a request from a tree.

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Because they are primeval, because they outlive us, because they are fixed, trees seem to emanate a sense of permanence.  And though rooted in earth, they seem to touch the sky.  For these reasons it is natural to feel we might learn wisdom from them, to haunt about them with the idea that if we could only read their silent riddle rightly we should learn some secret vital to our own lives; or even, more specifically, some secret vital to our real, our lasting and spiritual exitence.

~ Kim Taplin, Tongues in Trees

December 2012 036a

That’s it from the Bogs for today.  Thank you for visiting the old sentinel of the woods with me.  I know these aren’t the pretty pictures I usually post, but the tree is very beautiful to me, especially in its details.  It’s difficult to capture that, but I hope you can at least get a glimpse of it.

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Have a delightful day, evening, night… wherever and whenever you are on the spectrum of time.  🙂

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Today's view of the pond.  Winter is coming...

Today’s view of the pond. Winter is coming…


20 Comments on “Portrait of a maple”

  1. Jo Ann says:

    I did get a very clear picture of the tree, seeing all it folds, wrinkles, and blemishes. Old trees hold something of the magnificent within their stately limbs. Thanks for sharing “your” maple.

  2. I love maple trees. Growing up in mountains and forests of NH, they were everywhere! I love them, from the fine details that you photographed to the overall “spirit” of the trees…I consider them to be dear and wonderful friends. ( we have one in our front yard now, too…it seems to have adapted to CA. life…me, too : ) )

  3. dearrosie says:

    Enjoyed the walk today. You’ve got some really fantastic shots of the bark and the sensual curves of the trunks.
    How was your xmas celebration with your family?

  4. Mimo.ň says:

    Do you know, what trees are…? They have a special… spirit… more feelings than people have… Is it the imposssibilty of move… a punishment or privilege? Are their roots something we miss…? And… if YES… why?

  5. A calm and centering post.
    We don’t have maples here
    Can’t tell you how much I like the first maple pix and that one with the yin-yang branches.
    Hear those quiet woods’ carols through the branches? (the palms here are rattling some – lovely)

  6. There’s an old maple in the fiels next door that I call “Grandfather”. I love that tree…
    Happy Solstice!

  7. FeyGirl says:

    What a beautiful post, with such sensitive portraits of these magnificent trees. Just gorgeous! Love Andrews’ quotes in there, too. Thanks for the beautiful lesson….

  8. aFrankAngle says:

    Love the upward shots … great colors on the next-to-the-last one.

  9. “The tree seemed to want a blog post to itself. I never turn down a request from a tree.” I love this, Robin! I love trees, always have. We moved to our current property because I wanted to be among the trees – I hear them singing sometimes. Wonderful post, thank you.

  10. Coming East says:

    Astounding pictures, Robin! You have such a good eye for composition. And I loved the quotes you picked, growing up in Connecticut, I loved the maple trees the best (well, maybe they tied with white birches), and I missed them so much when we moved to Texas. We have them again here in Virginia. Loved this post.

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