Paper bark maple
ACERACEAE, The Maple family
It’s Emily’s birthday today, so I’m thinking of her. The paperbark maples that line this block of Alberta Street in Northeast Portland are not visible to me now, as I sit on a low stool surrounded by the crowd. Last Thursday is a scene. See and be seen. I have my little table out here with prints and paintings, but I’m wondering why. It always sounds like such a good idea, such a great opportunity. Then once I haul everything out, I’m stuck here and I wish I could get up to walk around. The people who stop to look at my things make mostly the same comments. People bought some things and I had a few interesting conversations. So it’s fine, I’ll just remind myself of this feeling of futility next time I want to spend my energy this way. Wow, that sounds crabby.
Trees are a cheerful subject generally, maples in particular. Though not a very diverse genus, they have a variety of uses in the landscape. Paper bark maple is a medium sized tree, growing 25 feet tall and nearly as wide. It has remarkable seasonal interest, most striking is the peeling, copper-colored bark. In spring it has tiny red flowers, followed by bright clusters of seeds (called keys or samaras, or more commonly, helicopters.) The leaves in summer are a deep, matt green, divided in to three some what like a hedge maple. In autumn they turn a vibrant scarlet before dropping.