Tree Project: Late Fall Follow-Up

Sunday, December 2, 2012.  Afternoon.

Today, I found my Ginkgo tree virtually bare. Drayton & Middleton 136_2_1

Only a handful of leaves managed to hang on to its branches.  An ocean of withering, golden leaves blanketed the ground beneath.  Their time has come to disintegrate and be reabsorbed into the earth and to support new life.

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One unexpected peculiarity caught my attention:  The Ginkgo tree had something that looked like new leaf buds.  Winter is approaching, and it looks as if the tree is already preparing for new growth.  It will be exciting to see what happens next when I visit it again in a few weeks.

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I definitely expect new leaves to emerge from the Ginkgo in spring. Not one of these leaves will be identical to the old ones, but they’ll still be from the same tree.

There is something to be learned from this observation.  One day, the time will come when our bodies will disintegrate and be reabsorbed into the ground as well. Will we also reemerge in the material world like the new Ginkgo leaves, perhaps in a different form, but still from the same, original source?

The Ginkgo tree has a delicate, little vine with heart-shaped, deep green leaves climbing up its trunk.  So pretty!

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The other interesting thing I’d like to report is that, despite the recent rainfall, the long, white ‘mystery hair’ still hangs off the same Ginkgo branch.  Unfortunately, I have not found out yet who it might belong to.

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Could the hair be Jake’s?  Oh, I have yet to introduce Jake to you …

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His barn and pasture are to the right of my trees.  Today, I was fortunate enough to be able to watch Jake getting groomed.  He deserves every bit of love and attention.  You see, Jake used to be a work horse and had to pull horse carriages.  Now he is retired and can enjoy his days roaming around on the pasture.  The people at Middleton Plantation love and respect him very much and give him lots of TLC.

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Jake’s story reminds me of the elderly.  I wish all elderly would be able to enjoy the same kind of retirement Jake is having now.  They, too, worked as hard as work horses in their lives.  The truth is, however, that many people are impoverished, in lack of needed care and attention, unloved, and forgotten by society in their old age.  At least, this is true for Western culture.  Why does our society not love, respect, and care for our elderly the way we do for animals?  Definitely, something to ponder!

To my surprise, the Chinaberry tree still had all of its berries.

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This means the feast and intoxication of the birds has not taken place yet.  I don’t know why, but I am generally not fond of tree berries.  Maybe it has something to do with the warnings I received as a child that most tree berries are poisonous and I should keep away from them.  But I have to admit, a leafless Chinaberry tree with nothing but clusters of berries looks quite attractive, especially when the light conditions of its background are just right.

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It would have been an almost perfectly quiet afternoon at the stable yards if it had not been for the Guinea birds.

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Their calls can be quite loud and penetrating.  Guineas are also fast runners and, thus difficult to photograph.  I see them as a challenge to improve my motion photography skills. 🙂

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They seem to shed a lot of their feathers which then mix in on the ground with the fallen Ginkgo leaves and berries from the Chinaberry tree.

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Today, my trees had another visitor.  It was an injured goose.  One of the wings of this goose is permanently extending out to the side.  The goose cannot completely retract it and fold it in against its body anymore.

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The caretakers at Middleton Place assured me, though, that this injured goose it just as happy as the rest of the flock.  Is there yet another lesson to be learned here?  Accidents and misfortunes do happen in life.  Can we also uphold a happy disposition even if we are faced with short-term or lasting physical ailments or handicaps?

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