A favorite "witness tree" in nearby woods
A favorite “witness tree” in nearby woods

This giant sugar maple has lived a long life in the woods near our house. It’s a favorite of mine, and I greet it almost every day as I run through the woods—”Good morning grandfather.” I’d guess it’s around 200 years old. Most of the land in our area has been clear-cut at least twice since Colonial times, and the majority of the bigger trees around us are no older than 60 or 70 years old. The term “witness tree” is used in these parts to describe trees that a farmer would leave standing to help define his property line (note the stone wall in the foreground). There were several such witness trees along this property line, most having given way to gravity and crashed to the ground. This one remains though it’s shedding branches and it’s only a matter of time before it too succumbs.

Nikon D600, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm, ISO 1250, f/16, 1/25″ exposure.