Monday, November 8, 2010

Tree snag ~ Elizabeth Smith

I confess to a fascination with dead wood, perhaps related to childhood memories of exploring woodpiles and decomposing logs. The echo of life is still there –I can imagine the seedling reaching for the sun, the unfurling of bud and leaf and inflorescence, the ripening of fruit or nut.

After death, another cycle of life begins – that of detritivores. On the microscopic level, bacteria and fungi colonize and start the breakdown process.

Invertebrates such as beetles, borers, and termites process wood nutrients or feast on fungi, and are feasted on in turn by vertebrates such as woodpeckers, anoles, and armadillos. Dead trees are used as homes by many species, including birds, bats, and squirrels.

This particular tree was an oak, probably a laurel oak. Something damaged it (lightning, a falling tree?), and the bark shows signs of regrowth round the split. The exterior bark and interior wood seemed to mirror each other, a glimpse of the past and present.

While nature may be extravagant, nothing goes to waste; all is consumed, refashioned, and repurposed – nature is the ultimate recycler.

You can click on the image to view it larger on my Flickr photostream.

~ Elizabeth Smith, Naples, Florida USA


  1. What an interesting study you've done!

  2. having grown up on a farm with some wooded acreage, I can honestly say that I have the love of deadwood in my heart too!
    I remember taking so many walks through the wooded path and collecting scraps of nature to take back to my bedroom and draw at my desk!

    thanks for making me remember that today....

    ciao bella

    Creative Carmelina

    stop by sometime!

  3. I neglected to comment on your journal page....which is why I began commenting in the first place! lol

    this is so well done..and when journaling and art combine...I'm totally know what I'm saying!

    ciao again...see you soon!

    Creative Carmelina

  4. Realy love your sketch! Simple but deep. So much meningful. I wonder I can do this as you did

  5. Thank you everyone! I so enjoyed drawing this - and blissful it was!

  6. No wonder you wanted to sketch this, Elizabeth! What a story it tells. It's stunning...I love the woodpecker holes.


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