Jack’s Walk

It seems that the normal weather for the month of March has arrived early in Southwestern Ontario. Overnight our temps climbed from -10ºC to +4ºC  and with the warming came lots and lots of rain. Overnight it was freezing rain, but by morning it was just a steady, cold downpour. All our snow is melting into compacted sheets of ice and the rain is just laying on top making everything slick and slippery. At least the ice isn’t coating the trees, for now anyway. The temp is expected to drop below freezing by early evening and we can only hope that the rain will stop before then. It grieves me to see the big, mature trees heavy with ice and the saplings and dainty birches bending like contortionists desperate to save limb and life.

After a careful assessment, Jack and I decided that the back yard was as far as we would venture today. Even explorers and voyageurs need a day off now and then. So, sorry, no photo for today. Just kidding…here’s a fascinating tree I found at our local park last week. It’s dying, maybe already dead, but it’s decay is beautiful. I apologize for the bad light, but it was a gloomy January day. I wanted to take an initial photo with the intention to return and perhaps make a study of it. You can click for full-size to see some of the patterns on the bleached and barkless areas. The next photo is a piece of fallen bark that lay at the base of the tree. I moved it to a rock to take the photo.

©voyager, all rights reserved

©voyager, all rights reserved


  1. says

    Are you sure that tree is dying? It looks like Platanus occidentalis still with last years’s fruit. The bark is supposed to look like that.

  2. Jazzlet says

    I think Charly is right. In the UK the tree is known as the London Plane, because in the days before the Clean Air Acts it was one of the few trees that could flourish in the heavily polluted air of London, precisely because it shed much of the pollution along with it’s bark.

  3. springa73 says

    Yeah, we have healthy trees around here that lose their bark and look like that. We call them Sycamores. I was taught to remember the name “sycamore” because the loss of the bark makes them look “sick”, but I think they look rather nice and wish they were more common around here.

    As far as weather goes, we got a mix of snow and freezing rain this past weekend while I was visiting relatives down south in Louisiana.* It then turned very cold for a couple of days, forming icy, hard-to-remove snow. Today the temperature steadily rose and now it’s above freezing, and we’re supposed to get heavy rain tomorrow, like you’ve already gotten. Then it’s supposed to get colder again, more ice. Personally, I’m ready for spring now but I’ll bet most of our snow is yet to come because it has been a pretty dry winter until last weekend.

    *It warmed my heart to see greenery and some flowers blooming down in Louisiana!

  4. voyager says

    Thanks Charly, Jazzlet and Springa73!
    This is exciting news. I’m absolutely in love with the look of this tree and knowing that it’s healthy and meant to look this way is wonderful. It isn’t a common tree in this area and I’m anxious to photograph it in better light.

  5. avalus says

    The above said it, the tree will live on. I really like the texture of the fresh sandy coloured bark. It is so smooth!
    (fun fact: As a child I thought they where a kind of acorn. Learning that they were in fact not really got me interested in trees.)

  6. Jazzlet says

    Huh, that’s interesting as it very much is not what I would call a sycamore. There’s a reason for using species names ;-) So what I would call a sycamore is Acer psudoplatanus, which is also known as ‘false plane’, whereas the tree above is probably, as Charly says, Platanus occidentalis, although there is also a Platanius orientalis, and my London plane is a hybrid of P.occidentalis and P.orientalis, Platanus x acerifolia! Apparently the usual American common name for Platanus occidentalis is … sycamore :-D

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