Black Spruce and Aspen

northern exposures

As I walked home today I smelled something very pleasant, very familiar, but I couldn’t place the aroma. It was an odd sensation, knowing but not knowing. For a moment I slowed down in an effort to identify it before moving out of its range. Then I realized that it was the black spruce. Their fragrance is intoxicating and I suppose it is inhibited by winter’s cold and released as spring’s warmth returns.

I don’t believe I have ever seen a tree as beautiful as the aspen. Fall, winter, spring, they always lure me to stop and admire them.  Simple, minimal designs draw me to them, make me want to understand them, to grasp the beauty of their forms. Simple is elegant. It is powerful and persuasive. The aspen tree is simple like that. Its straight lines, its uncomplicated bark smooth and white with only those occasional distinctive markings. Even its limbs and its leaves are graceful, refined. Some trees are a mass of confusion, limbs intertwining and crowding each other, trunks twisting this way or that, bark coarse and heavily textured. But not the aspen. The Artist of all life draws them with a deft and delicate hand, wasting not a stroke.

The black spruce and the aspen belong together. They were made to share each other’s company, and together their harmony becomes our blessing, a feast of beauty.


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