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“Pic of the Week”, January 15, 2016: Aspens

Vail 9-2007 237

Those of us who live near the Rocky Mountains are very familiar with quaking aspens, a species of tree I’ve grown increasingly fond of over the years.  These trees have characteristic white bark and green leaves in the summer (that shimmer in the wind, hence “quaking”).  The leaves turn a beautiful golden-yellow color in the fall.

Aspen trees are striking when you come across a stand of them, especially in an evergreen forest.  Their white bark makes them seem like guardians or sentinels.  But one of the aspens’ more interesting features is their “eyes”.  Of course the trees aren’t actually watching you, but if you look at the main trunk of a larger aspen you’re likely to see dark markings against the white bark.  These are where branches used to be and that have either been pruned off by gardeners or animals eating them, or have fallen off on their own.  They have the appearance of eyes.

It’s not rocket science, but when I enter a stand of aspens it’s something I always look for.  Hopefully you will, too.

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