December 31, 2019
Trees hold promise for the New Year and the coming decades by Mary Reid Barrow

With greetings for the new decade, here is a tree photo for you.

It came to me as a holiday card from photographer Robert Brown but I  am passing this beauty on to you as a New Year’s resolution from the trees and the promise they hold for 2020 and beyond.

These trees are a typical mix of natives in this area– oaks, pine and gums and more, Brown said. Local trees are our work-horse trees, the trees that we rely on more than ever in this time of climate change to hold our soil, drink excess water from the land, absorb carbon dioxide, feed our birds, and shade and cool our homes.

Brown snapped this photo with his cell phone along  Owls Creek on the trail between the Virginia Aquarium’s two buildings.

“It is remarkable how the phone camera will sometimes just  ‘do the trick’ in a good way,” he said.

Brown takes photos of this same scene whenever he passes by and he now has a diary of sorts of the continuous commitment of trees, season to season, year to year.  We’ve got your back,  the trees seem to say.

“The open light of the creek in the background, with other trees beyond that,” Brown said, “lends itself to a bit of drama in an otherwise static circumstance.

“The image was made in early May,” he added, “when there was still enough light coming through the canopy to shed that sort of glow on the new leaves.”

Tree photography is hard.  Distinguishing the trees from the woods can be daunting, but in this photo, Brown shows how good light and background reveals not only the trees but also in a stunning way, the promise trees hold for the future.

And now the trees are passing that promise onto you this New Year, pledging to project their protective glow for many more decades to come.

Return the favor and resolve to plant a tree or two or more yourself in the decades to come.


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