Good morning everyone. barry here...an old dog trying to learn a new trick. I have so many thoughts to share reflecting upon the season which ended only a few short weeks ago. but there is hardly time as we are already gearing up for next season. We are astounded by the number of folks who have made plans to return next summer. I'm guessing there is value in providing a safe place for you to take a deep breath as we scratch our way out of some pretty turbulent times. I sincerely hope that those of you who sailed with us this summer are still taking deep breaths at every chance. For those of you signed up for next summer, we can't wait to share our home with you again.
I had a chance on Columbus day weekend to run away to the north woods. Alone. I caught a brief glimpse of how it feels to have nothing to think about. I camped in the back of my truck. I brought my bow in hopes of finding a deer. I got lost on logging roads. Mostly lost in thought. I saw a lot of partridge. It was just what the doctor ordered in too small a dose.
Along the roadsides and in the woods are quaking aspen, Populus Tremuloides. My grandfather called them popple. Poplar, as most folks call them, is the most widely distributed native hardwood here in North America. Popple is not the most desirable firewood. I have seen furniture built of "select northern hardwood" that looked a heck of a lot like Poplar to me. the wood is easy to work, generally clear-grained, takes paint very well, and grows fast. In fact, new popple grows from seeds blown in the wind and by sending up shoots not far from the parent tree.
But that isn't what I wanted to tell you about. Quaking aspen gets its name by the way the leaves flit about in the wind. most tree leaves just flop over without a whole lot of fuss. But, popples wave their leaves like the cheering section at a high school football game. and in the autumn the leaves turn a brilliant yellow. maybe a little red, maybe all red, maybe orange. during my recent trip north, I was laying on my back studying the motion of the popple leaves in between eyelid perforation checks (aka Naps). I picked up a recently fallen leaf and was reminded of what creates such a unique quaking motion. The petiole, or leaf stem, is unique. Flat and wide in one profile. Very narrow in the other. The stem makes something akin to an airplane wing causing the leaves to flutter wildly in the lightest breeze. The result is what looks to me like a karaoke dance party with the wind playing some crazy-a$$ music and the leaves tripping on something from the 60s. I am not sure that is how Thoreau would have put it but.... works for me. I hope it works for you too.
Have a great day. Be well. Do good. Walk slowly. Keep breathing