A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible.
Taken around mid-summer, this photo shows the old crab apple tree near my balcony.
Now, at Winter's end and moving slowly into Spring, this austere tree is barren, its branches awaiting blossoms and leaves. Moss clinging to its twigs (here in the Inland Northwest moss is on everything). The tree may look barren now, but while a mere glance indicates little happening, it belies the richness of life in and beneath it branches.
If I sit quietly and watch, all kinds of things take place in the embrace of this tree.
Just last week a flock of about 30 of these - cedar waxwings - came to eat the small dried apples. I've never seen these birds before. I think they were passing through. They were so abundant and flighty they scared away the robins who claim and defend this tree as their own.
In Autumn the tree regularly hosts our local covey of quail and their nearly mature chicks who feast on the ripened, bitter apples. The robins are afraid of the quail.
Throughout Winter the local flock of robins eat the little apples clinging persistently in clusters throughout Winter. Their reddish breasts ornament the tree in Wintertime. The robins will chase away lone birds but seem intimidated by visiting flocks.
Varied Thrushes congregate in the tree in autumn to celebrate the apple feast. I've enjoyed the bright yellow of orioles in Spring, the screech and blue flash of mountain jays, the sunny dashes of gold finches, and Western tanagers, too.
Nut hatches frequent the tree - not after apples - but bugs in the crevices of bark. Sparrows, house finches, and other so called, "common birds", are frequent visitors that warm my heart.
While wild turkeys are seen all about the common areas, I haven't observed that they make visits to the tree for food. Of course, what I've been able to observe of the tree's visitors is likely only a fraction of the goings and comings.
Deer come to munch on fallen, and possibly fermented, apples in late Autumn and Winter, and nibble the lawn all year, pawing away snow.
At all times of the year this tree attracts life, sheltering, feeding, and shading all within its circumference. I enjoy a "bird's eye" view of the comings and goings from the bower of my balcony. For me the tree provides entertainment, beauty, shade on hot summer days, and privacy.
Let me share this "tree of life" throughout the Seasons that I've been graced to observe and experience.
Later in Spring - soon to arrive - the tree is a cloud of snowy blossoms!
In Summer, the tree shelters and cools my south-facing balcony.
In Autumn it drops a carpet of colored leaves around the angel beneath its boughs.
In Winter, wee apples are a staple food of much of the area's wildlife.
I love this tree!
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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.