When summer’s leaves fall, hidden treasures are revealed. What a delight seeing nests that had been hidden in plain view just a month before.
Or the shape of a tree’s skeleton. The Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum ) and the Boxelder (Acer negundo) I see from my window in the morning light are so different from each other, the Maple more symmetrical and the Boxelder as unruly as a young child’s summer hair. Everywhere these amazing structures we so blithely call “trees” show us their many variations. What can be more beautiful than the curling branches, so unique a shape, of a Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) against a clear evening sky?
Occasionally fortune smiles to reveal such rarities as a nest of a colony of Bald Face Hornets (Dolichovespula maculata). These remarkable structures are built by workers who chew bits of wood, mix it with their saliva, and form it into the rugged egg-shaped nests we’ve all seen hanging from a branch or the eave of a house. By this time of year the nests have often begun to fall apart giving me a chance to look closely at the “paper” they are made of. It is both beautiful and astonishingly complex.
Who needs pirate’s gold for a stock dividend! Treasure abounds in the woods and fields around me this time of year—all just waiting to be seen.