There are two trees that I've been inspecting for years along my commuting route. Both sit alone, which may be part of their appeal; one is in a field and the other rests on a knoll. I've fallen in love with the shape of one and the bark on another.
This champagne glass-figure is not a common sight these days. Years ago a disease destroyed most of the towering elms in Burlington. This one is further south. It may have survived because of it's solitary position or it's possibly a young'un trying to put a toe-hold in the earth. Nevertheless, it's intriguing and this time of year in bloom. I had an inkling to it's identity, but wanted to run it by my boss so he could take a look the next time he drove past. When I mentioned the tree's location, he didn't hesitate. "Oh yes, that's an elm". Apparently he's noticed it too.
Two miles away along the same route sits this tall, scraggly thing wedged between the roadway and the bike path. The network of branches reminds me of witches and long pointed fingers. As with all trees in the winter, you notice and can appreciate an individual one's framework.
But up close is where this tree shines. A Shagbark hickory displays a trunk full of peeling bark like a flaky coat. There are more of these around the area, but this specimen is within a shoulder of my bike when I pedal by. I sometimes wonder if those tendrils are going to grab me.