25 October 2010

Oaken-Autumn

The annual Leaf-Peeping Madness compels swarms of people to inundate the Peaks looking for special golden stands of quaking aspen.
But aspen, like spotted owl, are a delicate breed, too-sensitive to climactic whims, the ebb and flow of time, and change.
Gambel oak, though perhaps lacking in coloration and stature the majesty and grandeur of quaking aspen, are nevertheless a hardier lot, ready throughout the millennia to withstand drought, fire, harsh climatic change, and rocky, alkaline ground.  For all this, and its many beneficial uses, as well as for its uncommon beauty, the oak merits respect and attention.
It's altogether too easy to overlook the oak.  And yet, the woods all around us, not just those at elevation, are filled with impressive color these days.  This is the height of oaken-Autumn.  This is the week of the year when the oaks turn together.