Red Maple & Forester’s Trick

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Mountain Fire In Spring”and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

All along the Kanawha River we are beginning to see the mountains change color. There are light green spots full of tiny new leaves, the pinkish-purple of the redbud bloom and the blood red of the red maple. Tonight’s feature image is actually several years old but it was taken on April 15th. When I was studying forestry in college my instructor taught us that a good timber man could estimate the diversity of a stand of timber by the colors seen in fall and spring without ever climbing the mountain. Brown twigs are sugar maple and red twigs are red maple. He had a color scale in his mind that covered a multitude of hues and variations. He would use this technique to determine which stands of timber were worth a closer look and that way he could avoid wasting time on lower value timber.

I never made it into the timber industry but I have observed that by closely watching the colors of the mountains during the seasonal changes I can not only estimate the mix of trees in the forest but I can judge the progression of the changes. Like all things in life nothing is ever 100 percent but this technique allows me to get relatively accurate guess what nature is about to do. It’s all about the observation of natural time. So as you go about your day take note of the small changes in color and texture of the world around you. It’s God’s creation and you are a part of it.

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