Flat-boughed cedar

Flat-boughed cedar

A favourite tree – I remember the first one I consciously noticed, said to be 1,000 years old, some of its lowest flat boughs supported by poles themselves the diameter of some trees. But perhaps the most magnificent cedar I have seen is in a park in Geneva near...
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...
Forest-haunting Lombards

Forest-haunting Lombards

This is part of a paean to the magic of the forest and the hold it has on our imaginations.  But beware the forest-haunting Lombards, who sound like something from the night side of the fairy tale.   ‘A kind of spell haunts wooded slopes like these: it drives...
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...

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