Monday, February 14, 2011

Seasons of a Gingko

I love trees — especially OLD ones — and my all-time favorite tree (even more so than the Friendship Oak on the Mississippi Gulf Coast) is the 250+* year-old Gingko Tree in the Vicksburg National Cemetery. I have visited it often since we moved to Vicksburg over four years ago, and never cease to be humbled and awed in its presence, as it is truly One of God's Masterpieces.

It occurred to me the other day that I have photographed it in the summer ...

And lots of times in the Fall when it was at its most glorious (you can click on the pictures to enlarge them, if you'd like to get a closer look).

But for some reason, I've never photographed the tree during the Winter or Spring.

One day last week, I realized that if I was going to capture it during the winter, I'd better do it soon, so I set out to do just that. I drove over to the park and was pleased to see some light patches of snow still on the ground from a recent snowfall. Even though it made for some treacherous footing on the slopes, I think it added interest to the pictures.

I love that massive old trunk. It is truly awe-inspiring to reach out and touch it and think of the history it witnessed.

I will go back in the Springtime and capture this majestic Gingko once more — in all its splendor — as its new leaves unfold.

* Postscript:

Just a note to follow up on the age of the tree. I'm disappointed to have to say that I was misinformed on how to determine the age of a tree. I received the following e-mail dated 7/26/2011, from Ms. Virginia DuBowy, Natural Resources Program Manager of the Vicksburg National Military Park:

I read with interest your internet article in Southern Lagniappe on the large ginkgo tree in Vicksburg National Cemetery. Unfortunately, the tree is not as old as people assume. There have been several tree surveys done in the cemetery over the years, with the first map done in 1917. There is no ginkgo tree shown on this map on the site of the current tree. It does however, appear on the next survey done in 1933, where it is listed as being 18 inches in diameter at breast height, 30 feet tall, and having a crown spread of 25 feet.

So, it appears that this tree did not get planted until sometime after 1917, and therefore was not around during the siege of Vicksburg, much less 1775. Also realize that when the cemetery was established in 1866, the ground was graded and terraced extensively, and much of the vegetation was not planted until after the burials were completed.

Thank you for highlighting the wonderful trees that are maintained in the national cemetery, and I agree that the ginkgo in its full golden color is probably one of the most beautiful trees I've ever seen.

Virginia S. DuBowy
Natural Resources Program Manager
Vicksburg National Military Park


Deb said...

I can see why you love this's beautiful...happy hearts day...

Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

love the tree shots, but was so intriged (msp)by the young he was. He died in '48 at age 21 1/2, he was only 18 or 19 when the war ended. How young he was to serve and I wonder how he died?
So sad.

Tonja said...

It looks like an old, war-weary soldier. A soldier who has weathered hard times and cruel situations and has bended to keep from breaking...eventually becoming stronger than ever!

Or perhaps the Lord planted it there aa hundred years ago just to look over and stand guard over these graves.

Feeling mushy, aren't I? We planted 3 ginko trees when we moved to the Creekhouse. I know I will never see them like this...but just knowing that they one day will enough.