This is yesterday's post, but it could just as well be today's. With clear blue skies, leaves falling in the cool breeze, and fall crickets trilling here and there - both were perfect afternoons for a hike with the dogs and a little journaling.
The patch of small Maple-leaf Viburnums have been in our back woods from the time we built our house, twenty years ago. They don't seem any taller, wider, or thicker than when I first saw them but this might be because they grow in deep shade on the side of a dry hill. There is another large patch of these viburnums (possibly?) in the front woods that are twice (maybe even thrice) as large. They grow in a damper spot that gets a little more sun, but they have no fruit and have barely begun to change color... as I write this I wonder if perhaps they are another kind of Viburnum...hmm.
Anyway, when I first noticed this small cluster of trees it was about this time of year, and you couldn't miss the mass of pink leaves in deep shade. They glowed! and for a few years I thought they were just small maple trees. Then, somewhere along the way I read about viburnums and things began clicking - my eyes took in more. The flowers in the spring, for instance - Maple-leaf Viburnums have clusters of small white ones. After reading that I walked into the woods to look, and there they were. How could I ever have missed the flowers? And the tidy pairs of leaves.
Now I admire my Maple-leaf Viburnums every time I walk past them. Not only that, I've also learned to identify other viburnums, such as Arrow-wood, and Rusty Blackhaw. Who knows what will be next!
If you have any interest in shrubs, you might look for the fascinating book written by Donald Stokes in 1981, called The Natural History of Wild Shrubs and Vines (Eastern and Central NA), Illustrations by Deborah Prince Smith. My copy came from the Friends of the Library book sale, so I don't know if it's still available new, but used books are easy to come by these days.