Tree bark gallery

[slickr-flickr id=”12687067@N00″ type=”gallery” tag=”treezone2″]

This winter I got in the habit of feeling tree bark. One weekend on a stroll through cedar woods along the Grand River, I discovered the bark of these trees is extremely soft to the touch and not especially cold, even on a bitter winter day. On my walks around the city I began taking my gloves off to explore the sensation of various trees. Smooth-barked trees like cherry and beech feel as sharply cold as the surrounding air. This gallery shows a visual exploration of bark I have made over the years.

Today I walked up to a maple I had groped a few weeks ago. The bark is rough, and I expected it to feel warm in the early spring sunshine. But my hand strayed into the unseen shady side and found instead cool moisture: either from rain earlier in the day, or perhaps sap seeping down from overhead buds. In the shadows it was coated with a patchwork of lichen like blisters of emerald and jade. On the sunny west side, the bark was indeed warm and comparatively barren.

Pukaskwa National Park 1I was reminded of the epiphytic lichens that coat the upper branches, or entire cloud forests such as this one I visited in Pukaskwa National Park on the north shore of Lake Superior last spring. A single tree is a miniature ecosystem, holding innumberable organisms in the halo of its branches.

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