Ocracoke’s Live Oaks

Old and new leavesIn most other towns in North Carolina, people realize when fall is coming without even looking at a calendar. The deciduous trees start changing colors, gradually at first and then in huge bursts, spreading from the mountains down through the foothills and coming to a complete and abrupt stop at the Outer Banks. All we have here on Ocracoke are evergreens, pines, cedars, bay, etc. The only hint of color is the bright red of poison ivy or Virginia creeper winding through the bushes. No one on Ocracoke ever has to worry about raking leaves in the fall. The only time we have to rake up leaves is in the spring, because the one tree that completely sheds its leaves is the contrary but beautiful live oak tree. It doesn’t shed in the fall like normal trees, it waits until spring. As the strings of pollen mature, last year’s leaves turn brown and drop off to make way for the new buds. So, when you visit Ocracoke in the spring, don’t be surprised to see people out raking leaves. The brown leaves scattered on the ground are offset by the delicate fresh green of the new leaves popping out of all the gnarled fingers of our majestic live oaks. Fiddler David Tweedie (my husband) of Molasses Creek poetically refers to this in his oft requested song, “Howard Street” with these lyrics: “We know the spring by turning leaves, the oaks they shed for joy and not for grieving.” You can listen to the song here (scroll down to Howard Street once you are on the page): http://www.molassescreek.com/bestof.cfm

To learn more about Ocracoke’s beautiful live oaks, visit this site: https://www.ocracokenavigator.com/live-oak-trees/

Azaleas among leaves Howard Street leaves
Live oaks shedding their leaves among the azaleas Howard Street littered with shed live oak leaves

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