Every day, a photograph, a poem. Yesterday, I spent the day with my son, Greg. We haven’t seen each other in three years due to Covid, although we FaceTime every week. It was a beautiful, sparkling and warm autumn day. We took and talked on two walks, one through town and one by the lake where I snapped this image of a favorite cottonwood tree.
I have loved cottonwood trees, no matter how people complain of their fluffy puffs floating in the air, ever since I played along the Missouri River near Bismarck, ND while my parents fished for the Northern Pike and walleye. Shade from the trees and the songs of birds from their nests created a fantasy setting as my brother and I gathered up little toads for the evening, letting them go when it was time to leave.
I remember being amazed at the giants– so tall with arms outstretched to reach the sky and provide the cooling shade on hot summer evenings. Sadly, due to the many dams now on the Missouri River that prevent the needed flooding, the cottonwoods are dying and not regenerating. [See Abstract BioScience ]
I found an image of the great cottonwoods taken by “sf-dvs” on Flickr with CC2.0 license.
Did you know that historically, this tree — or the several species of it — are noted for their height– for their ability to grow in the hot sun in near the waterways and watering holes of arid country? That means they could be seen for miles in the dry land and those traveling, be they first peoples or early settlers would head to them, knowing water was available nearby, their horses could eat the leaves, and the bark holds native-ways medicinal properties. Besides that– many, many other forms of wildlife– rodents, birds, insects, etc. all find their way to the tree for shelter and sustenance as well. For more information, see Arbor Day.
Sturdy, waxy, shining leavesSheri Edwards
green or yellow— lovely to see
Cottonwood: historic gold
Tall and seen— in times of old—
Place of shelter, food, and shade
The towering tree along waterways.
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