one thing about being 51: i'm beginning to live on the timescale of trees. i've had that experience a lot lately. when i was a teenager, i hiked through the shenandoah national park a number of times. it was a lovely park. but going back there a couple of weeks ago, staying in the remarkable skyland with joanie, i realized that it is now something like a wilderness, or at any rate it is a mature forest; it might almost never have been logged. trees that were thirty years old in 1974 are in their sixties. now it's closer to 1830 than to 1960. the whole vibe of the place is different, more hushed and alien.
and i've suddenly noticed this in other spots i've been hitting again on this summer's road trips. i remember specific trees on the campus of the university of virginia - where i was in the 80s - that are massive now, and are creating quite different micro-environments. also in dc: even the cherries around the tidal basin, which i remember as saplings in the 1960s, are serious trees, but the whole area has grown up - rock creek park, for instance - though dutch elm disease wiped out the huge elms of the previous generation.