Inspired by Brumley Nature Preserve
I’m doing some scientific work in Brumley Nature Preserve, here in Hillsborough. It’s an old farm going back to forest, with examples of nearly every stage of the process, including some climax forest and some individual trees that are probably nearly 200 years old. I’m collecting data on the transitions, monitoring the progress of invasive species, and measuring trees. Today I spent a few hours measuring one of the largest white oaks on the preserve. It might have taken less time if the magnificent creature weren’t surrounded by privet bushes and wild roses (some of those invasives I mentioned above…). It’s hard to run over 50 feet of steel tape measure in a straight and level line through a thicket, especially when part of the thicket is armed with thorns. It was great, though, to spend that time under her branches and near her enormous neighbor, a massive tulip tree I call the Kraken. That one is also on the short list to get measured, but it has poison ivy vines (larger than my arm) so it will require a special technique I am still creating to prevent me or my tools from touching the vines.
This piece has two titles, which is unusual for me. It’s called Old Man Sycamore, and it’s called That Other Sky.
Pastel on Stonehenge acid free paper, approx 28 x 20 inches.