Mar 6, 2010

Venerable Poplar on the Edge of Spring

The 130-foot poplar tree pictured on your left stands at the back of my grandfather's property at the house he has lived in for about 70 years. He said that the tree long predates his presence on the property, and I suspect based on the circumference of the tree's massive trunk that it must be at least 150 years old.

For perspective, that would be a tree dating back to the American Civil War or longer.

This tree has always been the tallest tree in the vicinity, and for me this particular poplar is like an immutable life monument. As a child I played baseball and football in what my grandparents called the "back forty," and the tree never seemed to change in appearance, though its growth certainly continued over the past four decades of my life.

My 93-year-old grandfather is by comparison a mere infant, and this tree has been alive for something like 29 presidential administrations or more. Barring a lightning strike or some other unforeseen event, such as the discovery of diamonds under its roots, this poplar might live another century or more, as the oldest poplar in North America is between 350 and 400 years old. My own grandchildren might some day drive by this property and gaze up at the tall polar tree that towers over all other nearby life forms.

Another spring season is almost here, and already this poplar's buds are beginning to emerge. Though an older tree, there is no sign that this timbered warrior is slowing down, and I experience a sense of sublime wonder while standing underneath its limbs.


historymike said...

Oh, and I enjoyed the yellow hues of the branches against the dark blue late afternoon March sky, too. That is what actually prompted me to take the photograph in the first place.

Paul Swendson said...

These types of landmarks give you a very different perspective on time. It makes a lifetime not seem so long. I also love living near some of the landmarks of my youth. Staying in contact with elements of your personal history can help keep alive an interest in history in general.