Wednesday, January 21, 2009


A blank page, nothing to write, but words will tumble eventually......A book by Richard Mabey describing the great storm of 1987 when a great swathe of trees was cut down. The percieved wisdom at the time, was to clear and get rid of the trees, to remake the landscape. But as anyone knows that is foolish, the landscape is perfectly capable of making itself. New tree seedlings start up, colonisers or invaders, call them what you will, but they are there in the soil, Old trees their roots wrested from the ground, lying like beached whales, will still cling tenaciously to life, half buried roots succouring the fallen giant so that leaves still flourish. Life is perfectly capable of getting on without us, the sunlight space that felled trees make will in turn suddenly produce woodland flowers that have not been there before.
There is a creative edge to nature we know nothing about, in spring and early summer there is a vibrancy of growth, late summer and the air will be hazy with minute seeds and spore, falling softly to the ground they are trapped till the right conditions come along.
Now in winter,the branches and twigs stand out in sharp contrast against a blue sky, we see haphazard growth in old trees, limbs lost, thickly textured barks, an intricate balance of twigs along the secondary branches, a stand of beeches on a hill top, their branches sloping away from the prevailing wind. We inherit trees, we do not own them. Tolkien portrayed them as venerable, slow, old gentleman, plodding through the wildwood ready to fight.
We bemoan their lose in our lifetime, for we will never see a tree grow to full maturity, but it is of little consequence, they are not there for our pleasure...
A tree is beautiful because we are seemingly programmed by our senses to respond to its shape, it becomes a familar on the horizon, should it be cut down, there is an empty space, yet the spirit of the tree is still there. But can trees have spirits, physically it draws water from the ground up through the outer layer to the leaves which then transpires the water through the stomato of the leaves creating a perfect environment. Once I cut a branch of the large walnut tree up on the bank in early spring, and all of a sudden water gushed out of the wound, running down the trunk, it was if I had cut an artery of the tree, a scary happening.

Neglected wood with old coppice stools

The old yew at Alton Barnes

Strange shapes

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