The skin of the birch

The skin of the birch

The forest is alive. 

Trees layer in skin, surrounding the core. 

Reach out and touch the textures of bark.  Soft, smooth, tender.

Hard, scratchy, rough.

Each skin of each individual tree shimmers with uniqueness, with individuality.  Don’t let your mind fool you into believing there’s only a single concept of bark, a single way trees are. 

Shadow play

Shadow play

In the early morning light of dawn, shadows play on the skin of trees.  Leaves dance against the bark.  If your imagination starts dancing you might even glimpse the Little People lounging on the roots, caressing the underground skin.  If you look closely, closely, at the bark you might even see small creatures burrowing in the crevices.

Hello, creature.  Almost missed you.

Hello, creature. Almost missed you.

Peer closely now.  There’s fungus of every description.  Whorls and crevices and depths abound.  Insects clatter up and down the steep slopes of their homes.  Oh, there’s so much to see.  Don’t let the fickle leaves distract you.  Stay true to the bark-skin, at least for awhile.  It has so much to share.

OK, you're getting close enough now.  Look at the mountains and valleys!

OK, you're getting close enough now. Look at the trails.

For you scientific sorts, I’ll bet you already know the purpose of bark.  It protects the inner layers of the tree. Bark acts like a shield to protect the vascular cambium, phloem, and xylem which are located just beneath the surface.  In everyday language, bark is the protector.  It takes care of the inner more delicate parts.  It shields.  It whispers for us to come close, to look, to touch.  Just don’t bring a chain saw or axe, please.

Dark skin and light skin

Dark skin and light skin

Root and bark, leaf and fruit.  So many different parts of the creatures which grow from shrubby low-to-the-ground fellows to swaggering giants reaching up to touch the sky.  We’re honored to share the planet with them.

But look…what might this be?  NO, say it’s not so.  It must be the tree’s giggle about yesterday’s blog.  The first red leaf.  She wafted down from way up above and rests gently on this old grandfather’s skin.

Oh the fickle leaves!  "How quickly they change," sighs the bark.

Oh the fickle leaves! "How quickly they change," sighs the bark.

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