The empty structures catch seeds, then protect fragile saplings from the prairie winds and reserve a window of sunlight overhead like a target. 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.
Across a region laden with leaning, crumbling reminders of more vibrant days, some residents have found comfort in their unlikely profiles.
“It just struck me as, I don’t know, a symbol of something,” said Ken Wolf, who has spent many days of his retirement searching the area for what he calls, simply, silo trees, photographing dozens along the way. “I see it as a kind of passing.”