Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Deep Gap Landmark Maple

This landmark maple overlooks the Deep Gap. It is within the NFS Blue Ridge Parkway boundary. It appears the boundary was shaped around this tree and the old cemetery it marks.

It can be seen from the valley below along US 221. Looking north east beyond this ancient maple one can see Mt. Jefferson.

This giant maple has magnificent form. It has spread nicely over the 150 years it has anchored this place on earth. I estimate it to be 150 years because many of the feildstone cemetery markers beneath it are scratched from the 1850s.

It took quite a blow in the last winds and ice storm, dropping several wide spreading lower limbs. Limbs that reached out to recieve the light yet now are no longer capable of sustaining the weight; natures way of pruning its form to withstand another 150 years.
Some of the headstones and markers are piled against the tree base. Having been moved there when found dragged by tractors farming the christmas trees. Winds and ice and storms have not taken this tree, but christmas trees may some day get in the way.


Sometimes I look up through the branches and think about them reaching up into the light. Carrying the heritage of those below into the heavens.

One of the graveyard markers has the date of December 23, 1863. I have wondered about those times in these hills. I wonder what happened that cold December? Could they dig and bury their losses in the freeze of winter? Or would that have to wait on spring?Yellow jonquils and orange gravelillies bloom each spring beneath this maple in the eternal quest for rebirth.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Birches, Frost, Ice, and Love...

"Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better"....

by Robert Frost

So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.

I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.

I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Source: The Poetry of Robert Frost (1969).

To read the complete poem or to hear Robert Frost reading this poem follow this link below:

To view a demonstration of an ink and brush rendering of birch trees follow this link:

Saturday, February 9, 2008

TERRA — The Earth Renewal and Restoration Alliance

“Look deep, deep into nature, and you will understand everything.”
Albert Einstein
While the intent of this blog is to explore the Heritage Trees of Watauga County it is also intended to become an opportunity for discovery and awareness of the largest plants on the planet. Sometimes we must venture beyond our own back yard to discover an unknown Heritage.
I found the following to be an interesting website designed to share information about Champion Trees, Heritage Trees, Ancient Forests, and many other Tree and forest resources.
This website on Earth Restoration is an internet service of the New York Champion Tree Project, Inc. a not-for-profit, tax exempt, charitable corporation.

Ancient forests are a source of beauty, peace and inspiration Old growth is habitat for nature's greatest diversity of species These sylvan sanctuaries are rare and endangered We must find these magnificent natural resources, protect these unique ecological communities and restore more land to ancient forest condition.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Wedding Tree............. Daniel Boone Gardens

This 150 year old Black Cherry Tree was in the Daniel Boone gardens in Boone, NC.

It was submitted by a reader who was fortunate enough to see and photograph it before it was lost to storm damage and old age.

This is the comment that was supplied:

"I would like to contribute to the Heritage Tree project. "I have only lived in Watauga County for the past 5 years. "I was drawn to this tree. It was spring when I visited later that year, the tree fell down.

"I was sad that it had gone and gave the Daniel Boone Gardens copies of all of the pictures I had taken that day. They were very appreciative .

"I am not sure how old this tree was, but it seemed firmly grounded with its arms reaching out to the sky.

"They said that it had been the center of the gardens since they had opened and that they missed it's presence. "I could understand that and this is one of its final portraits.
"I hope that my submission is helpful. Andi."
Thanks! I am sure there are other photos and stories associated with this Heritage Tree. Please share! sw

H. Eckess Jones, Jr., a wood-turner from Greensboro who lives in Beech Mountain, presented a bowl he carved from the wood of a limb from the champion black cherry tree.


Recent Art exhibit of Heritage trees

Chickadeedeedee Tree (detail)

Seven Crow Tree (Detail)
Follow the link below for other artists heritage trees