©Poems of R.F.Mueller- Other Times, Other Thoughts
THE ADVANTAGE OF INTELLIGENCE
I've always admired the beech, a tree
that thrives in cool, moist woodland,
which, strangely, also gives it frost protection in spring,
allowing it to bud early there.
So when I transplanted one to my open yard
it budded out on schedule, but froze its leaves.
It survived, but promptly renounced its woodland habit,
and leafed out much later from then on
—proving that trees can learn as well as we!
This American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) sapling came from a cool, moist forest on the north-facing slope of "Pileated Peak", a 300 foot hill on our property that was named by my son Gus. The hill was named after the large Pileated Woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus) that are so common there. However, I made the mistake of planting it in shallow soil over a limestone ledge, an environment inhospitable to Beech, which, as I later discovered, likes acidic soil. Consequently, although the tree recovered from the shock of transplantation and continues to survive, it doesn't thrive, and is small for its age.