“Black Willow, Spring Rain”  Squire Valleevue Farm

Standing beneath these trees when the wind blows one hears the squeak and groan of trunks and boughs and the sibilant rustling of leaves. This particular stand of black willows has mesmerized me for five decades, like a giant metronome dancing through space, its crowns moving in unison to a light breeze; its black bark, interlaced and deeply furrowed providing contrast to the delicate yellow-green leaves of early spring. But also, I’ve admired the restive side of their personality, when the trees beat and flail against strong winds sweeping down the farm’s western slope and, for all their frailty, holding, indefatigable, resolute, never breaking.  Above the waterline, the massive root system, now fully integrated into sand and loam, provides ballast to secure the trees and bank. And, completing the aesthetic, an inner ring of cattails frames this frequently overlooked landscape.

Consider a visit to Squire Valleevue Farm one day this spring or summer to walk the meadows and trails and experience the motion in the willows.