In an earlier post, about American beech, I included a shocking confession: I tend not to get all hot and bothered when I see that someone has carved letters or an image into the bark of a tree. I know it’s wrong to injure a tree willy-nilly, but I can’t help myself. It’s the romantic in me, and maybe also the professor of literature and history.
It goes back quite a ways, this practice of carving upon trees.
In my backyard stands an American beech (Fagus grandifolia), 20 years old.
I know it’s two decades old because it was a gift to my wife from her sister on her 40th birthday in 1991. It’s meant to remind her of the copper beach (Fagus sylvatica f. purpurea) that grew in front of their childhood home near Philadelphia.
On any given day, American beech is my favorite tree. Why? Well, obviously, it’s that smooth, gray bark that draws the eye in a forest of furrowed, ridged, warty, and scaly trees.