Mariton: Living Sculptures

March 9, 2020

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

Courting dancers

At Mariton, Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) trees tend to follow the sun more than other trees.  Like a field of sunflowers that turns to face the sun, these young trees also move, but over longer periods of time.  A nearby tree may lose a branch or fall down which provides a window of sunlight.  And the young Sassafras will actually twist its trunk to take gaze at that window.  Over time these trees take on interesting shapes.

The entwining kiss

Sometimes they remind me of sculptures I have seen of dancing children.  Sometimes it is just an abstract form.  Honestly, I admire the Sassafras sculptures more than man-made sculptures because they were “chiseled” by light and time and nature.  The best time to look for these interesting shapes is on a foggy morning that shields the “visual noise” of the surrounding forest.  Moonlight nights are another great time to look for these interesting silhouettes.

Abstract Cobra