365 Nature – Day 291

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Learn more about the project and see all the 365 Nature posts.


I was back in the arboretum after a few days away and I was curious to see how the park held up to the windstorm over the weekend. It was easy to see evidence of wind, leaves coated the ground, thickly in many places. I love to walk through after wind, before the parks crew blow the leaves all away. There were many small branches down and a couple of trees. One magnolia tree simply leaned over in a non-dramatic fall. Trees seem to fall either with great drama, or none at all. Earlier this year, on Day 74, I walked through the arboretum after a windstorm and found dramatic tree fall. Trunks had been snapped, jagged, sharp edges protruding from the break.

This time, there were no massive breaks like that and the magnolia tree seemed to have been slowly pushed over, the soil around the roots was bulged up, raising a bench up and askew. Another small tree, a witch hazel had branches laying down on the ground. There were many branches from Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar and other trees all over the paths. One of my favorite windfall finds are branches covered in mosses and lichens. I love to pick them up and look at the diversity on a single branch and if I get my hand lens out, I will see small invertebrates, still living in the down branch.

The autumn colors continue to flourish, the Japanese Maple collection and witch hazels are becoming particularly fiery now.

Kelly Brenner
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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She founded The Metropolitan Field Guide in 2009 and has contributed articles to aincluding Crosscut, ParentMap and National Wildlife Magazine. She holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.

She is currently writing a book about urban nature to be published by Mountaineers Books in 2019.
Kelly Brenner
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