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...
Wind-twisted pines

Wind-twisted pines

This reminds me of hardy, gnarled little trees seen on wind-blasted hilltops in England, shaped by and leaning with the prevailing gusts.   And here’s a forgotten word: ‘tussock’. ‘The beeches and oak-trees and bushes of golden gorse giving place to solitary groups of...

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