Things I am old enough to remember

Sharon’s challenge for this month is this palette of blues and golds, and the question "What are you old enough to remember?" Well, OK, technically it is blues and tans, but I think I can (with a little latitude) interpret that dark tan as a deep gold.

Febpalette

I like the colors (even though at the moment I am totally drawn into the whole pink/orange/gold/sparkly thing.[as a separate aside, if one is drawn to pink/orange/sparkly {however temporarily} and does not like to think of channeling one’s inner barbie, what other options are there?]) 

I am old enough to remember elm trees lining the streets – big, tall, elegant and shady. Nothing has replaced them on American streets. I found a picture of the town I went to college, and the anti-war protesters coming down Main St, and what captured my attention was not the signs or the faces or even the youth of the marchers, but the glory of the trees behind them. Main St was lined with elms, before the Dutch Elm blight got them all, one by one. And I can remember them shading the roads my mother drove us over, and slowly sickening and dying and being cut down.

Americanelm

My mother is old enough to remember chestnut trees. Not horse chestnuts, with the spiky green golf balls that plummet from the skies in the fall and split open to reveal gorgeous glossy nuts that make me think (always) of horses’ flanks, even though horses the color of chestnuts are called bay. Conkers they are called, in other places. But real chestnuts, with edible nuts and astoundingly tough wood. I read a theory that the decline and fall of the passenger pigeon was due in part to the chestnut blight – it removed the food source, making them more vulnerable to the extreme predations by humans, and they all died. I have never seen a chestnut tree big enough to seed. There are tiny saplings in the woods all the time, but they never make it past shoulder height on me. I have never seen a passenger pigeon either.

Chestnut
Passpigeon


4 thoughts on “Things I am old enough to remember

  1. I love both the Audobon (sp?) print and the “spreading chestnut tree.” (The Village Blacksmith) I’m having trouble myself coming up with an idea for actual artwork, but no trouble at all remembering. It’s really wonderful.

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  2. I remember trees lining the streets too, although not specifically the chestnut trees. (We had elms though.) I’d heard recently that someone – a botanist, but maybe not a professional – was making progress in the restoration of the chestnut tree. Wish I had more details to share with you but maybe if you do an internet search you’ll find something. Good luck. It seems a worthy topic for your challenge piece.

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  3. Lovely post. In the South, maybe they are different kinds of elms, but they seem to have survived. Was going to say what Judy said above–someone in the northeast if i’m not mistaken, has started a movement to restore the chestnut tree. I live in northern Europe where there are loads of them. Maybe they are actually horsechestnuts bcs i don’t think the nuts are usually edible, but they have splendid towers of blossoms in the spring.

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