|NYT photo by Steve Hebert|
The empty, hollow structures catch seeds, then protect saplings from prairie winds and "reserve a window of sunlight overhead like a target," Sulzberger reports. "In time, without tending by human hands, the trees have grown so high that lush canopies of branches now rise from the structures and top them like leafy umbrellas," he writes.
Some residents find comfort in the silo trees. Ken Wolf, who has spent time searching for the trees and photographing them, said they struck him as "a symbol of something." The Kansas City-based Sulzberger reports this region was never very friendly to trees, but as the human footprint continues to erode, the natural world continues to reclaim the landscape. Often, much more technical kinds of farming goes on around them and because it's more expensive to tear down the structures, they are left to decay, Sulzberger reports, and this kind of strange beauty results. (Read more)