A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I was walking on 43d Avenue and within sight of my house on Athlone, when I spotted white stuff on my boulevard lawn. I immediately thought of the children from the nearby elementary school who have a habit of throwing the remnants of their lunch on the way home. When I was close I knew I was wrong. I was most pleasantly surprised. A recent wind must have blown off a large swath of the peeling bark of my Betula utilis var. jacquemontii or Himalayan Birch. Any tree as beautiful as this one should require (in my books) a mouthful to pranounce. I first spotted this white ghost (a grove of them) at VanDusen Botanical Garden one late February some 17 years ago. Both Rosemary and I knew we would plant one in our garden. Our specimen has grown quickly and is almost as big as the VanDusen ones. It is a sentinel of my winter garden. Even though I am not an American this tree reminds me (as well as the VanDusen specimens) of Confederate soldiers wearing their bleached grays, standing their ground in spite of an inevitable defeat.

The two panoramic pictures I took in February 1992 when Rosemary said, "Let's go for a walk in VanDusen." I replied, "You must be crazy. What can we see that is of possible interest?" Of course She was right. In my own small way I contributed by bringing along that swivel lensed Widelux loaded with Kodak Infrared film.

The other two images are scans of the bark I found yesterday. The green comes from the grass that the bark has been on for perhaps a few days or weeks. The brown colour is on the inside. This image I scanned from the bottom, placing the bark on the flatbed scanner. The second image is a double scan. I treated the bark as a transparency and my scanner passed on both the top and bottom simultaneously.


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Bank of British Columbia - Lost & Found

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