Exposed Roots


The old-growth Hemlock forests of northern Wisconsin were logged off in the late 1800’s into the early 1900’s.

As time passed, Yellow Birch seedlings took root in the deteriorating Hemlock stumps.

Eventually, as the stumps slowly rotted away, it left the roots of the Yellow Birch exposed.

And so they now stand, raised up from the earth on spidery legs, looking as though they might skitter through the forest on moonless nights, or perhaps dance under the full moon.


One wonders what it would be like


To see the roots of each other’s personality


thus exposed


providing insight into the their character


which we encounter.


Two vestigal Hemlock Trees, growing where their ancestors once thrived and dominated the landscape.

[as always, click on the pictures for better images]

30 thoughts on “Exposed Roots

    • In places, where they are grouped together, it is so enchanting. One feels that there are ancient mysteries being revealed, and that one has been found worthy to receive this revelation. Next time you’re in the states, just let me know…I’ll see if I can arrange a visit! 🙂

  1. I love this! I can just see them skittering through the forest on a moonless night. Cool trees. I guess we do get to see the roots of those who chose to share them with us. Sometimes it is easy to guess, given certain behaviors. I love hemlocks. They don’t grow here in NM, so I love to visit with them in the northeast.

    • So glad that you enjoyed the photos and post, Mary. And thank you for your comment! I agree, we do glimpse those roots sometimes. Though many times I wish that I understood more deeply…

  2. Great photos! I love that the are standing on legs. I have used the tree riot metaphor for teaching people how to ground and loved realizing that trees don’t just have 1 root going straight down, there are roots in a circle all around the tree going down into the earth. So we, too, can create this circle of support for ourselves.

    • Excellent point! I had not considered that nuance of that metaphor. I imagine one could invoke different tree energies for different forms of grounding/connecting. Just found this by googling: “Although trees are generally divided into two groups by root type—tap root trees (such as oaks, hickory, walnut, conifers) and lateral, or fibrous, root trees (maples, ash, cottonwood)—this distinction is most evident as seedlings or saplings. Once the tree is planted and begins to mature, the distinctions between the root types become less pronounced.”

  3. Your analogy of the roots is very poetic!
    So sad that man “logged off” the Hemlock Forests, but man seems to be quite good at that type of selfish usage of nature.
    I think the exposed roots of the Yellow Birch might be exposing the sin of man’s selfishness!
    Great post!

    • Thank you, Resa. Very fascinating comment. Long after the forests are gone, and long after even the stumps are gone, they bear testament to what was done.

  4. I was surprised when I saw this! I have a tree that I have photographing and following for 7 years now! Nothing like this one but still, it grows on rocks! It amazes me when they seek hallowed ground to grow. I was searching all my social media for the photos. I liked this a lot and it sparked a memory for me! Hope you weekend is going great! It’s Saturday night and I’m here so what’s that say about my life! Peaceful yes! 😀

      • Hi I did find it! It was here on Wp I deleted some of my earlier stuff for dumb reason…but I’m deeper then appears!
        I love this tree! Once I was here and I came up on this Stork Wildlife cons. release into the wild and he screamed and me too that was this day! I love dark days with mist and all that this was from June 11, 2013.

          • Thank you I sure do love it! Based on it’s height I think it’s probably close to over 50 years old. Wow close to my age and now that I think of it maybe I love this tree because it is like me, still growing no matter the condition of the ground beneath me! I think age teaches us that at least I hope it does! Have a gentle Sunday! 😀

            • Wonderful reflections, Michelle, thanks for sharing them! About the possible age of the tree – those that grow in difficult conditions cannot be estimated by the heights, or breadth, that they reach – they grow much more slowly – my wild guess is that it might be closer to 100 years old.

            • Oh wow I never thought of that before! You are right about that! Who knows how long it’s been there either! It’s actually growing of a jetting at the lake! Like a mystery! 😀

  5. Trees are wonderful things. It’s such a terrible shame that there are so few primal forests left. So few real forests at all. So much we have lost. Thanks for these heartening pictures.

    • Yes, it’s a constant ebb and flow between grieving what we have lost, and envisioning what could be… Thank you, Jane, for giving pause to reflect.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s