I’m hoping to add one or two “baby leaves glamour shots” to my gallery this year.

One of my favorite things about April is the extraordinary form and delicate color of emerging leaves–such an ordinary thing, a leaf, after it has reached full size and thickness.

Early leaves transmit rather than reflect light, and their relationship to sunlight seems so obviously what they are all about.

Follow the excerpt below to find some leaf portraits from this time last year. Hopefully I’ll add one or two before the first of May.

Maple Morphology

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. This is a nice addition to your Spring leaf buds. When I was last in the Appalachians in the Spring, I was amazed at the variety of colors of the different leaf buds. The Spring foliage looked as colorful as Fall,only in pastels. I Didn’t remember remember that fact from growing up in Knoxville.