Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Stop and Enjoy the Ginkgo
Every late fall, Century Plaza in downtown Roanoke--just across from Historic Fire Station No. 1--becomes a golden glow for a few glorious afternoons. It is sitting on the cusp of that transformation today (the photo is from yesterday) and my guess is that by Friday, it will be in full hue.
This is one of the loveliest sites in a region known for its beauty. When the Ginkgo leaves fall and create that wonderful yellow carpet, reflecting light upward, it is worth the trip downtown.
The Ginkgo is a relic that predates the Jurassic Period (200 million years ago) by more than 50 million years. Dinosaurs probably ate its leaves and spread its seeds--one theory for the decline of most of its original large number of species. Two remain. Buddhist monks in China are credited with saving the remaining trees and ultimately they were shipped to the rest of the world. The Buddhists recognized a number of positive properties of the tree, primarily its medical qualities, still in use today.
Beyond that, though, it is simply a beauty. Treat yourself in the next few days.