Trees, Running and Viruses

Trees on the Run

Trees can get sick, too. Since the descent into quarantine, isolation, social distancing, buying weeks’ worth of groceries at a time, and many other anti-communal activities, I have run solo a lot. In doing so, since conversation is limited to my occasional Tourette’s outbreak, I find myself admiring the scenery. Looking at trees along a run, one cannot help but be amazed at the way they grow, spreading branches, leafing out, producing flowers and tons of pollen. Yet they, too, are often victims of infection. Diseases that infect trees include bacteria, mycoplasmas, fungi, viruses, insects and other plants, like mistletoe or ivy. Some of the names of these diseases are whimsical, such as Drippy Nut of of Oak, Crown Gall, and Lucidus Root and Butt Rot. The American Chestnut has been completely wiped out by Chestnut Blight, a fungus. Dutch Elm Disease, another fungus, has killed a large percentage of Elms in the U.S., by obliterating the tree’s vasculature. My purpose here is not to do a treatise on tree diseases, but to appreciate these tall, sappy plants that provide awe and shade as we run.

Redbud in Bloom

Trees have nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. But they have developed amazing defenses against nature’s tree enemies, allowing them to survive, some for centuries.

Sugar Maple leafing out, with a fig just beginning to leaf out in the foreground.

Some can be old and massive.

On Bancroft School Grounds, Haddonfield, New Jersey.
Some get modified to fit our environment, and manage to thrive.
Some modify themselves. Here the trees are reaching for sunshine.
Reflected trees with a family of geese, goose, gander and goslings, in Newton Lake Park.
Some are home to birds; see the horned owl?
Or provide an egret a roost.
Not all trees have green leaves.
A domesticated tree turned wild, uprooting a sidewalk and caving in a roof.
The same storm took down many trees in our neighborhood.
Some just collapse. Perhaps this was a sick tree that died.
Trees grow where they’re planted, and some, like this one, are awe inspiring.
The ducks and I share the path.

Admiring the trees, their hardiness, beauty, longevity, and variety are inspiring as I run alone, waiting for Covid to be gone.

Leave a comment

4 Comments

  1. This was fun to read Frank – “Tourette’s outbreak” – “me too” -Had to laugh – sure symptom of too many solo runs…I have a number of favorite trees as well – The next time we run together (soon I hope) I will point them out -although am pretty sure you’ve no doubt seen them on your runs as well..

    Reply
  2. I loved reading this, Frank, and viewing the photos, too. Looking forward to all being able to run together again!

    Reply

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