Tree Watching in Seattle — Early January

January 6, 2012

Last maple leaf withering on a branch

“There’s a name for these old leaves that stay on the trees until a strong wind or new spring leaves push them off — marcescent.”
—  Nancy Ross Hugo, Seeing Trees:  Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees

I’m sure I’ll learn a lot this year while I work on my tree-watching project.  Today, for example, I’ve learned a new vocabulary word, marcescent.  It gives me a new appreciation for those solitary last leaves that hang on, withering on their branches.  There’s a lesson about persistence there, and luck (perhaps), and hanging as long as you are able through the final winters of your life.

I’ll be using my tree-watching project as a platform for making watercolor sketches as well as writing and photographing, for there are good lessons in all of these creative pursuits, too:

“Drawing, photography, and journaling are other useful adjuncts to the viewing.  Any time you draw something, no matter how successful you are from an artistic point of view, you learn more about it, so it’s good advice to draw more if you want to see and remember more.  If we all approached drawing as a means of fixing a memory as opposed to creating a work of art, we’d do more of it and see more as a result.”
—  Nancy Ross Hugo, Seeing Trees:  Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees

Watercolor sketch of marcescent maple leaf

2 Responses to “Tree Watching in Seattle — Early January”

  1. garden2day Says:

    Good luck in your tree observing adventures. I am sure that you will see so much more than most of us but through your eyes we can learn to see more.

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