Friday, September 22, 2006

Bark, bark, bark

I found this trio of birch trees standing guard over the Fox River in West Dundee, Illinois last weekend and was taken by the texture of the bark on the trees. I learned in school that birch bark was used by native Americans for use in making canoes, shelters and for medicines.

My dad used to tell me, when I was young and impressionable, that birch bark was also used as toilet paper, leaving me to marvel at how "rough" life was for pioneers and native Americans. It took a long time for me to realize he was kidding (he WAS kidding, wasn't he?).

Naturally, I passed the story on to my four kids who have now also grown up confused about this use for birch bark. Aren't family traditions wonderful?

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2006 James Jordan.


Cedar said...

Are those river birches?

I remember sending letters to friends on white birch bark (picked up off the ground) when I was at a loss for things to do while staying with my grandparents in Northern Wisconsin, where every tree that wasn't a pine tree was a white birch tree.

James said...

Those are indeed river birches. And quite shortly, those leaves will be a golden yellow.