Nature Photography

In Praise of the Interior Douglas Fir, Tree of Memory

The Interior Douglas fir, now that’s a lovely tree. Look at her standing up high in the dawn at Big Bar Lake. Red Squirrels, pileated and downy woodpeckers, sharp-shinned hawks, bald eagles, weaver ants… everyone climbs up these heights in their own way, and down below the ant lions wait, as they will.

A great tree to walk through, such as high above the North Okanagan, with the pine grass underfoot. What the image doesn’t show is the scent. The trees announce their presence far down the cliff. You are among them long before you see them.

They can live for many hundreds of years. Eventually, they die. Or, well, do they?

Not so fast, anyway. This one has created a new crown around herself, likely by holding the snow against the wind, or perhaps by pushing deer and moose further up the slope to cross her, with new crops of kinnikinnic and rose hips, for bears, coyotes and deer, lots of good room for grubs and ants, and as you can spot at the bottom of the trunk, a great place for a bear to whack off the top of the stem to get at those grubs. Actually, her daughter came by a second year and turned the whacked-off part over again. She learned her lessons well, and remembered. The tree seems to remember, too, but in a physical remembering, a sending forth into the future.

Red Hill, Thompson Canyon  

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