22 November 2014

Frosted Morning Bridge - Missoula, Montana

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost...."

21 November 2014

Tamarack, Close - Missoula, Montana

Comparing tamarack branches to those of an adjacent green conifer, I noticed the tamarack's distinct needle bunches. On a sturdy and fortunate tree, annual shedding and regrowth may cycle for hundreds of years. On the Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks site, retired Livingston biology teacher Lori Micken chronicles ages of some of these stately trees: "Years ago I felled a larch that had died in a fire that raged through the Swan Valley some time in the early 1900s. I counted 350 rings, putting the tree’s origins back to the time of the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia. The fire-scarred behemoths still living in the Swan Valley must now be nearly 450 years old. Ancient tamaracks estimated at more than 900 years old have been reported in some parts of Washington."

20 November 2014

Tamarack Trail - Missoula, Montana

I've long been in awe of the tamarack's golden beauty - ever since my juniour high earth science teacher explained how the needles of these bona fide conifers turn yellow in the fall and then drop off, to regrow in the spring. No such a magical tree existed on Alberta's rolling farmland! 
In several sections of the trail up University Peak, our footsteps quieted as we walked the cushy carpet dusted with seeming gold-strewn magic.

19 November 2014

Frosted Foliage - Missoula, Montana

“A touch of cold in the Autumn night -
I walked abroad,
And saw…”

- From “Autumn” by T. E. Hulme (1883–1917)

Click here to continue reading this poem which raised the thought in my mind, 'What lovely imagery of settings we've all seen!'.

17 November 2014

Miniature Moss Variation - Missoula, Montana

“…Still I wonder, and envy
The lichen, chewing the granite like a cow
Its cud, ruminating so patiently
Over the pageant, as swift glaciers plow
The plains, and oceans flow and ebb between;
They view the epic plot, from beginning
To end spectators of every scene,
Where I glimpse one held pose, knowing nothing
Of the unfolding. I do not envy
The rough pale scales their immortality;
Only their witness of the great story.”

 - From ‘Envying theLichen’ by Mark Sauer

Read the full poem here, and more of Sauer's thoughtful verse at his PoemHunter collection.

16 November 2014

Mossy Trailside - Missoula, Montana

On some switchbacks in the first hour of the trail up University Peak, moss carpeted the thickly forested hillsides, reflecting a vibrant upglow light into the dim understory.