Daily Connector | What I think I knew | Phil Hart

Julie and I have been spending way more time walking in the park and sitting on the deck than we ever have.  And during those walks and sits I have been caught off guard by some things I have seen that I had assumed were not possible.  For example, after living for fifteen years in the woods down in Hocking County in the 70s and 80s, I had become pretty proficient (maybe arrogant) in my knowledge of tree species, to the point I can probably identify 7 or 8 by the smell of their saw dust.  White oak vs. red oak, cherry, sugar maple, etc.  We have been back here in Columbus for 14 years now, and I have wondered why some of my favorite Hocking County trees weren’t growing up here. 

In May I was stunned to see the biggest Dogwood tree I’d ever seen in the wild, growing at Sharon Woods.  A couple weeks later I saw a Tulip Poplar at Blendon Woods.  I can talk for a long time about the history of Tulip Poplar lumber in Ohio.  Ask me sometime.  I‘ve seen several other since then, now that I realize they do exist in Franklin County. 

About a week later it dawned on me that we were walking by a meadow filled with young Sassafras trees, one of my favorites.  Sassafras actually emits for distinct smells related either to a peeled root, a crushed leaf, a dried twig, or the sawdust.  How could I have not seen them before this spring?

My biggest surprise came on a walk a block North of Hudson close to Indianola this week.  I’m a serious gardener and also a gleaner of wild berries, mushrooms, and things.  But the lettuce growing up through the crack in the sidewalk stunned me. 

What other possibilities have I been missing?