Aesthetically beautiful in its maturing, the Sugar Maple exhibited a very regal presence with its boughs canopying the gravel walkway running in front of our cottage deck. It had taken root amidst the tiered rocks and soil that cascaded towards Three Mile Bay, White Lake.
The Maple, a treasure of our cottage property, filled us with both a sense of well-being along with dread of any damage or loss that might occur through some unexpected assault upon its longevity….we loved the presence of this tree and appreciated all that it provided.
Cycling through seasonal transitions, the tree hung nature’s changing artwork out over the landscape. Providing a canopy of distinguishing bright green leaves in summer, the blazing noon hour sun was blocked from pummeling its heat into all corners of the deck. In autumn, transitioning to hues of yellow and gold, each leaf in due time took leave of its attachment and danced freely to touch upon a layering of nutrition rich gold on the lawn below. Through leaf stripped branches of winter, a white vista of ice and snow was made visible to the distant shore. Within the gentle rustling of leaves or the violent sway of leaf ladden branches, the tree orchestrated its own language, breaching the sound of silence.
A broad umbrella of branches provided the shade preferred by the Hostas planted at its base. Each branch offered a quick retreat to safety for the Robins who enjoyed a daily dip in the refreshing water of the bird bath nestled among the Hostas and for the Yellow Finches, Squirrels and Chipmunks who sought a ready-made watering hole. Providing a speedy entrance and egress to nearby bird feeders, Chickadees, Wrens and the skittish Blue Jays, could all enjoy their seeds of choice perched safely upon limbs within.
Red Squirrels, lying belly flat on the moist blackened limbs, imbibed the sweet gift of spring sap, while within the trunk, scurrying bugs provided an occasional food source for visiting small Red-Headed Woodpeckers or the larger Pileated Woodpecker…however this wasn’t something we welcomed fearing permanent damage to the tree.
High up in the upper branches of the Maple, an ideal vantage lookout could be imagined for the food scavenging, mischievous Raccoons surveying the source of rising food smells from a nearby open kitchen window… one could foresee plans being concocted for a night time raid on the garbage shed!!
The wide expanse of outstretched limbs formed a significant part of an extensive highway in the sky for the squirrels and chipmunks criss crossing the property from Cedar to Maple, and onward through Poplars and Pine, White Birch and Oak , across rooftops, telephone and electrical wires, travelling across acres into the safe havens beyond. At night, a Flying Squirrel was witnessed pushing off from a nearby Cedar, gliding across open space to reach the safety of the trunk of the Maple tree.
Offering such a delightful presence for our daily observance….one lone majestic Maple tree.