Somehow, winter's ice-cold clarity brings out the best field marks in a whole host of native trees that stand along the lake trail.

Take black cherry for instance - or, specifically, its tall, stark, charcoal-colored stems.

As John Eastman says (in The Book of Forest and Thicket), black cherry is "distinctive in any season, highly adaptable to almost any dry or mesic forest habitat, and one of the most valuable trees to wildlife and people" (52).