Paddle Your Own Canoe

Birch Tree In Winter
Birch Tree In Winter

As there are no leaves left on the trees, it seemed appropriate to have a picture of a tree with no leaves on. It does seem strange doesn’t it? Here we are in the coldest part of the year and all the trees take all their clothes off and stand around naked like a bunch of sixties hippies at a music festival. It makes you wonder about the evergreen trees, the Pine, Fir, Holly and the Yew for instance, are they considered just a bit prudish by the other trees do you think?

This is a Birch tree. Coleridge, in ‘The Picture Or The Lover’s Resolution’, a long involved litany of trees and plants, the sort of thing you might use to entertain an Ancient Mariner while he waited for a wedding guest to turn up, called the Silver Birch The Lady of the Woods. In America they do things differently and Hiawatha used a different member of the Birch family to build his canoe I’m pleased to report. This worried me throughout my childhood as, I had never seen a birch tree with sufficient girth to have made more than a pair of moccasins. Longfellow has our hero barking the tree using wedges to remove the bark but it seems that the bark, because of the oils in it, it doesn’t rot away as quickly as the wood inside it does, so it is often easier to find a dead tree and knock the rotten wood out of the middle of it.

Back to the Silver Birch. It’s good for making brooms and besoms and in the spring you can collect sap from it and make birch wine. So, there you go, if you are feeling inclined to stand around naked it’s better to wait till spring – at least you can have a glass of wine to get you in the mood.

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