Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Eyes of the Aspen Bassett

For those of you who know our basset, Louie, otherwise known as Lucifer and shown relaxing in my previous post, I photographed this aspen near Stanley last fall. Its "eye" astonishingly resembles one of Lucifer's sad basset eyes. There are a number of myths that surround the aspen and many refer to their enigmatic eyes. One tells the story of a princess (of course) who wasted away waiting for her handsome prince to return from the forest. When the light in her eyes finally dimmed and she died, the forest of aspens magically became filled with eyes, ever-watching for his imagined return. Sad story. And what's the moral to that sappy, tragic tale, anyway? What I would have told that silly princess, if I had known her, was to pull out her copy of Art and Fear. There's a line in there that really helped we many years ago. "When your horse dies, get off!"

Truth of the matter is that aspens grow straight and tall reaching for the light. Aspens are self pruning, so lower limbs become starved from light by the new growth, wither and die. And when the limbs fall off, an enzyme produces a dark scar that resembles an eye. That same scarring process, is key to a successful arborglyph. Next time you see an aspen, check out its eyes.

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