P1010310_800StripedMaple480I am heading out in a few minutes to catch the first direct sun that flares through the spring trees as it crests the east ridge. This particular combination of angles makes for some nice backlit baby leaves and fern fronds.

These Striped Maple buds in that kind of light made for an interesting cluster of light green Vs, with each terminal branch giving rise to two leaf buds.

P1010309StripedMaple480But for the first time (a common theme this week–old dog new tricks-wise) I noticed something else. Every leaf bud also become a branch bud. No leaves are produced anywhere but at the tips of branches, and each leave will be followed by its own branch.

So the final form of this plant is perfectly dichotomous–each fork forks and reforks, its growth in overall height and breadth for the new year starting in the spring with the new leaves.

It takes so little to amaze and delight me. And for that, I am amazed and delighted.

Share this with your friends!

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.

Articles: 3013


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I like your backlit dichotomous leaves (and future branches), but the cliff in the background is what moves me. I used to climb a place like that in grade school days in Knoxville, and there is no geology like it in California. Oh well. I rejoice in the nature I do have out here!

  2. Your posts always bring me joy as well as peace. A while back you were despairing of whether anyone cared about what you write. Put simply, I do. It enriches my heart. Oh, and the backlit striped maple buds do too. Thank you. 🌱