Winter Trees

On December 6, I dawdled my way to the Willow City Loop, north of Fredericksburg. Known primarily for its profusion of bluebonnets and other wildflowers in spring, it’s equally interesting in autumn and early winter. Rocks, cedars, and seedheads predominate; mistletoe and ball moss decorate bare limbs.

When I noticed the still-visible moon hanging in the sky, these lines from poet William Carlos Williams came to mind. His work titled “Winter Trees” easily divides into three haiku-like poems, as elegant as the trees they celebrate.

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.


Comments always are welcome.

Island in the Stream


Bigtooth Maples (Acer grandidentatum) and the Sabinal River serve as primary attractions at Lost Maples State Natural Area near Vanderpool, Texas. 

The ‘lost’ maples, native trees that survived in a few spots after the end of the last great ice age, provide some of the most glorious autumn color in Texas. In the protected canyons of Bandera county, they thrive in the company of Chinquapin Oak, Black Walnut, Linden, Cedar Elm, and Black Cherry. Understory plants such as Mexican Buckeye, Carolina Buckthorn, Witch Hazel, and Mountain Laurel add beauty to seasons other than fall.

The Sabinal River isn’t the only water coursing through the area. Can Creek, which flows alongside the Maple and East trails, is laced with grasses like those shown above. While not as dramatic as the trees, they have their own subtle beauty.

Comments always are welcome.

Found on the Forest Floor

Even before most of our leaves began to color or fall, this early October pair had come to rest beneath Longleaf and Loblolly pines in the Big Thicket of East Texas.

I especially enjoyed the way the leaves’ colors were complemented by the colors surrounding them. The red, orange, and rust of the leaf above displayed well among rusty leaves and needles, while the gray and yellow of the second leaf, a short distance away, was complemented by its gray wooden frame.

In both cases, the leaves’ bits of remaining green echoed the color of the still lushly green and vibrant Sphagnum moss (perhaps Sphagnum squarrosum).

Lovely in their own right, the leaves were a fine reminder to look down as well as up for hints of autumn color.


Comments always are welcome.