Oriental bittersweet on an old fence line. There is a native Michigan version, but it's tricky to tell the difference. Their orange pods are a sweet little dash of color in the landscape.
Ever since my mom used the seedpod outers to make mice as part of a Halloween decoration when I was in the third grade, it has been one of my favorites. I spotted some on the drive home from the airport, and shouted with delight. There's just something about them that looks like home to me.
Oaks are, to me, the signature tree of my Midwest. Many still hold their brown leaves in the gusting winds, but many of those same leaves scuttle across the drifted snow, too. I'd forgotten their signature shape and the different textures of white and red oak bark, and how large they really are. This beautiful beast surrounded by its progeny is one of many I met along the roadside that day.