Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Cathedral willows

Between meetings and workshops and deadlines and goofy weather... not a whole lot of bloggable natural history or art going on around here lately. One day last week my car and I celebrated some milestones together: the car turned its 100,000th mile. I turned significantly more miles than that. We (the car and I) were headed back home from Colorado Springs meetings, so I stopped for a mocha granita to celebrate before turning up Bighorn Sheep Canyon for home. The car will get an oil change. Whoopee!

Yesterday morning it was snowing and raining. (See below.) Miserable. But this morning! (See below also.)

It's always good to get out the day after a storm and see what the wind blew in. Avian arrivals today included hermit thrush, common yellowthroat, a Wilson's warbler.... and some peeps which I am pretty sure were least sandpipers. But, SHEESH. I struggle to ID those little buggers.

At the "peak" of the trail (farthest point from home) I found that the wet snow and wind had pretty seriously battered a large willow tree. Branches and catkins littered the trail, so I carted a chunk home to draw. (You know what a sucker I am for catkins.)

I'm not a particularly good identifier of tree species-- at least not past their obvious family names: pine, willow, cottonwood. This particular tree species may or may not be related to two other large willows near Sands Lake... but in my own personal field guide they are the same. They are enormous, graceful, luminous. They inspire a hush and a reverence and compel me to look up. I dunno what an arborist would call them, but I like think of them as "Cathedral Willows."

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