I grew up on Lake Erie in Buffalo, NY. Though I did not live on the lake shore itself, the lake was a constant presence in my life. Visiting family always means visiting the lake. This view is from a little park in Erie, PA where my nephew and his family live.
Their neighborhood is filled with massive old trees like this one dwarfing the house across the street from theirs. It instantly brought to mind fairly tales with tiny houses deep in the woods — even though it is on a city street!
Their own yard is home to this outstanding Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), which is native to eastern North America.
My great-nephew and I barely got our arms halfway around the trunk which makes me very curious about the age of their tree . . .
since I think it is bigger than this historic specimen we saw when we visited the Cleveland Botanical Garden on the way to Erie. That tree is 222 years old! So Mike and Sara and Jack and Ben: Take care of your tree. You will not see its like again.
Everywhere we went we saw wonderful big trees including chestnuts and buckeyes. I was blown away by the ones on the lawn of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. I took art classes there as a grade school student and spent countless hours looking at the art as an art student in college. I've never forgotten the Caryatids by Augustus Saint Gaudens on the exterior of the building or the art within, but I have no recollection of these trees.
Even more surprising was the discovery of one of these beauties growing in front of the house where we lived from the time I was in 7th grade until the end of freshman year of college. I have absolutely no recollection of this tree. Though I clearly remember spending summers reading under a densely shady maple in the back yard. More proof that you only learn to love and revere trees as you age!