Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Last Splash of Color


Here it is Election Day (Yay!) and we’re still seeing color in the woods, thanks to the tamaracks. The birches turn golden after the hardwoods drop their leaves, and then when the birches are nearly gone the tamaracks take over, delighting us with a last splash of color.

Tamaracks (also called “larch”, as in Monty Python’s “The LARCH”) are the only conifers to actually shed their needles in winter. The first time I saw all those bare branches I thought some terrible disease had suddenly decimated entire stands of trees. But in late fall they’re gorgeous—as if, like the hardwoods, they feel the need to give a grand, final performance before shutting down for the season.

I don’t remember seeing tamaracks before we moved up here to the eastern UP (and, in fact, 40% of the state’s tamaracks are in the eastern half of the Upper Peninsula), but now I’m seeing them downstate as far as Saginaw. Is that normal or is it a sign of global warming? I don’t know.

(We just got back from voting. The township hall is our polling place and there was no one ahead of us, and only a few people signing in when we left. Our poll worker said I was #198 at 10:30 AM, but there were absentee ballots to be counted, so hopefully the numbers go over the top like they are everywhere else. Can’t wait until tomorrow, when this crazy two-year run up is over. I hope, I hope, I HOPE my guy wins!)


  1. These were beautiful to see - it does seem like fall is hanging onto Michigan a little bit longer this year! :-)

  2. Hi Shelly, I'm glad I took the pictures when I did, because the combination of wind and rain has all but decimated the tamaracks now. The ground beneath them is orange with their tiny needles, and there is very little color in the woods. Still, we had a few warm "shirtsleeve" days, and I'm grateful for that! (But it's getting dark at 5 o'clock. I HATE that.)