Spectre-pale beech

Spectre-pale beech

Orlando has a candid relationship with her often absent husband Bonthrop.  He visits when he can, and sometimes when he’s needed, which is to say when the wind doesn’t allow him to persist in his endless quest to sail around a treacherous cape. Here she is...
Green-leaf invocations

Green-leaf invocations

Surely a practice worth borrowing or reviving?  Leigh Fermor describes a woman beginning each verse of her song with such an invocation, a kind of homage to the leaves and the trees. ‘She sang a doina to herself as she moved about the yard, each verse beginning...
Tree reflecting banks

Tree reflecting banks

A river lined on both sides with tree-covered banks, reflected in the water and in each other.   As you follow Leigh Ferro’s pre-war crossing of Europe, knowing what came after in destruction and mayhem, you keep asking how much of what he describes survived and...
Tree-tufted islands

Tree-tufted islands

Trees as tufts – trying to imagine how they would look.  I imagine wind-blown short trees, dwarfed and compacted by a harsh climate. ‘We sailed between tree-tufted islands.’   Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts (London: Penguin Books,...
Bristled serpents of ivy

Bristled serpents of ivy

A perfect description of those thick cords of ivy rope that wrap themselves around trees, eventually suffocating them. ‘The ivy twisting round the oaks like bristled serpents.’  22nd January 1798 Source: Dorothy Wordsworth, The Grasmere and Alfoxden...
Understatement  – dead or alive?

Understatement – dead or alive?

Jane Austen is a fount of wryness.  Here she is playfully, gently breaking some bad news of the state of some trees to their owner:  ‘I will not say your mulberry trees are dead, but I am afraid they are not alive.’   And if you liked these examples of...
A dancing class for trees

A dancing class for trees

Something utterly comforting about orchards, especially old and haphazard ones.  But I never thought of them as a dancing class for trees and like the distinction between the shy apple and the capable cherry.  Blushing peach and glowing apricot, not to mention the...

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