The Axeman Cometh.

familiar-trees-something-about-dartmoorWhen I’m out on my ’rounds’ – there are certain trees that I notice more than others – because they stand afar on a hilltop – or a hedge-top – or at a crossroads. They have become familiar friends – and I can’t imagine a time when they won’t exist – especially as trees outlive us humans by centuries even millennia.  I silently talk to trees – and if I can reach them in a physical sense – I lay a hand on them too – I’m an undemonstrative tree-hugger I guess!  

From here – where I sit at my computer to write – I can ‘see’ a familiar tree – a Eucalyptus I think it was?  

I’d often lift my eyes away from the glary screen and look out beyond the high fence to the sky and the straight lines of power cable that crossed its space.  I confess – I probably took it a bit for granted because it was so readily – and comfortably in view.  Apart from its obvious lankiness – its other noteworthy feature was as a visible parameter for measuring the gentleness of the Wind; even on the stillest of days ‘The Gangly Tree’ murmured and sighed.  In that sense – its constant companion was the Wind – and together they’d sing and dance – and sparkle – and never more noticeably than two Saturdays ago…

I was here doing ‘nothing’ again – a combination of internet browsing and intermittent daydreaming – when suddenly I really ‘sat-up’ and took notice of my gangly friend – enough to reach for my camera and take a couple snapshots…

From gangliness to a vision of loveliness.

From gangliness to a vision of loveliness.

 After years in its neighbourly presence – I suddenly felt impelled to capture the light – the movement – and the feeling I had of great upliftment on an otherwise sedentary afternoon.   In that transitory moment – I could not know what was to befall my gangly neighbour only a short time later… 

Tuesday – 15th November 2016 – someone somewhere had made the decision that the ‘Gangly Tree’ was to be axed – and by mid-morning the whine of the chainsaw was the only audible sound carried by the now weeping Wind.  I found myself thinking what it must feel like to be a tree and to suddenly feel your branches being cut off ‘slowly’ one by one – I’m sure I could hear it screaming for mercy – for light.  I was ‘glad’ I was home to witness it’s slow dismemberment rather than coming home and finding it had just gone.  I painfully watched the ‘axe-man’ as he methodically went about the task – risking his own life in its execution.  The ‘Gangly Tree’ lived up to its name right to the very last – swaying uncontrollably with each controlled movement of the tree surgeon.  I don’t think the ‘Gangly Tree’ was a push-over in tree-felling terms – and in that way I greatly admired the agility and strength of the man wielding the saw; it was a morning of mixed emotions. These are the only other pictures I have of the Gangly Tree’s existence – taken through my window on the fated morning.

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Gone.

In the foreground are the bare branches of my equally dead Buddleia - slowly poisoned by next door's leaky oil tank.

In the foreground are the bare branches of my equally dead Buddleia – slowly poisoned by next door’s leaky oil tank.

Even though the butterflies didn’t come this Summer – and Autumn has witnessed a sudden death – the magic of light and colour combined – will raise my spirits through the dark days of Winter.  If I pan back from the vacant space and greyness outside – to what is inside – there is a little stained glass panel that hangs in the foreground that fits as a perfect epitaph for a tree that I’d mostly taken for granted just because it’s always been there. 

Bought earlier in the year from stained glass artist - Rachel Ravelle.

Bought earlier in the year from stained glass artist – Rachel Ravelle.

I'm glad I listened.

I’m glad I listened before it was too late.

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