Saturday, October 22, 2011

Guest Post: Four seasons

By Patrick Follez




Patrick Follez, who lives in Antwerpen, Belgium, shot the images (above) of this ornamental apple tree (malus) over 12 months covering the four seasons.I will share his musings on autumn with readers of Life's Too Short. Enjoy!

Autumn is here and the tree on the street before the house is showing its yellow and autumn colours. The tree is a malus or ornamental apple tree and it is used to line the streets.

Autumn is a reflective period as nature slowly retreats to its dormant state out of human view. The malus tree does it with a burst of colours and red berries inviting the blackbirds for a last feast before the meagre times of winter.

I have been watching this tree for nine years from the day I found that I could turn my webcam outside (modified with a 200mm old zoom lens) and brought the tree live as animated wallpaper on my computer. Over the years 12,000 images were stored in a backup copy that came to light when I was cleaning up the hard drive.

It is a treasure trove of images  of the slowly changing tree (and its inhabitants) from winter to spring, summer and autumn. The strange erratic shifting patterns of longer or shorter winters and snow in spring are revealed. That every generation of blackbirds are greedy berry eaters has become a fact!

There are two yearly events that stand out. Firstly, the spring opening of the buds and the first light pastel green leaves unfolding. And secondly, the autumn ripening of the berries and invasion of the birds.

I can still remember when the street was renovated some 25 years ago and they planted a small twig with a few leaves kept upright with a two metre high stick dwarfing the seedling. Now the tree is very big and a small world in itself going through the seasons and making my day when I look at it in the morning. This is one of the advantages of getting old: the privilege of looking back and marvelling at the changes.



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