by Neil Carleton
Although Country Street in Almonte may not be paved with gold, it’s certainly lined with silver. Silver maples arch over much of the street on both sides between Bridge and James. This is my favourite route for walking to the post office because of its arboreal beauty in all seasons.
With the first blush of green as buds open, the landscape along these three blocks is transformed each spring by the arrival of new leaves. It all seems to happen so quickly. During the summer, a stroll down Country is pretty much in welcome shade throughout any hot day. Then, at this time of the year, Nature’s palette abounds in the rich, warm colours of autumn. When the Country Street silver maples are dormant without leaves, as our part of the planet tips away from the sun, it’s much easier to spot visiting birds up in the branches. These include cheery black-capped chickadees, stunning cardinals, and ever busy red and white-breasted nuthatches. It was a ruckus of crows one day that drew my attention to a barred owl trying to look like a bump on one of the bare limbs.
My inquiries around town haven’t yet determined who planted the silver maples along Country Street, when, and why. In this month’s column I’d like to introduce you to one fine example in particular. It’s now the largest of several dozen which were planted many years ago on both sides of the street. Being close to the sidewalk just before James Street, this giant invites further inspection by strollers going either way. Another good view is available around the corner on James.