tulip tree

On a cloudless, quiet mid-morning after a heavy frost, the ground remains white only in the shadows. A single orange leaf falls from the tall tulip poplar, spiraling slowly down into the dead goldenrods.

My three-year-old tulip tree has extended one last, jaunty new leaf for the season. How tall it has grown on this summer’s thunderstorms! Not to mention all the extra CO2 in the air.

A skim of snow overnight; a front has blown in and the birds are so much quieter. But a cold, gray morning is fine for gray squirrel romance: a pair ascend a young tulip tree together, touching often, and descend the adjacent walnut tree, nose to tail.

Sunrise. A squirrel carries a freshly dug-up walnut in its mouth. The tulip tree’s leaves are already big enough to wave like a rave of one.