When we first moved to these woods this beech tree was half the size it is now. It stands watch near the path to the dock with long gray fingers spreading into the soil, resembling an elephant leg with slender toes. This soldier fights for sun as it competes with several larger and older oak trees. The beech hangs on to its bronze leaves far longer than the other trees and while it crackles like cellophane in the sharp fall winds, it hangs on tight to the leathery beauty well into winter. The leaves are smooth and almost like sculptures or manmade works of art rather than living photosynthesis machines.
The gray, smooth bark is a favorite for people to carve initials proclaiming love for someone. This permanently scars the tree, and I many times wonder if their love lasted a quarter of the life of the tree. This tree is ours and is spared such mutilation. There are better ways to sustain and prove love.
I am awed by the way it captures the autumn angle of the sun and turns a brilliant bronze.