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"Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints"

Chief Seattle (1786–1866) leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Native American tribes

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A Tree and Me

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1. A giant of a tree.
2. My Blackthorn walking stick in comparison.
3. Making my way home.

A solitary Coastal Redwood stands majestic, sentry like, soaring to over one hundred feet above and amongst a once ornamental mixed woodland now heavy with aged trees, all vying for the sunlight that sweeps across the leafy canopy, lower saplings eager to rise up to join them.

Much of this wood has been left to its own devices, pollarding long forgotten, hardly managed at all, with windfall left to rot where it falls, discarded, ignored, an untidy haphazard resting place excused as a natural habitat, an economic liability, rather than managed by a woodman aware and proud of his heritage who would have logged any windfall for the benefit of the estate and it's workers.

This sadly forgotten redwood, capable of growing well in excess of three hundred feet and living for more than two thousand years in its native America, is crowded by lesser, parasitic, trees seeking its support; leaning, rubbing, damaging this giant of trees as it stands firm against winds other trees struggle to contend with. This tree, once chosen, planted and admired for its extravagance of colour and height, is deserving of care.

I ponder; contemplate freeing it; to leave it growing unmolested, vowing to return at a later date with saw and axe to drop the lesser wood alongside this wonder of nature.

Examples of longevity, of the passage of time, always leave me well aware of my own fragility and what little influence I have to protect the world I live in. I love that this tree is older and will live longer than me. To ponder who and what may have passed through its shadow leaves me with no fear of my own transitory passing. The memory of a sunset, a dawn, a season, a landscape, a seascape, a starscape, a birdsong, a murmuration of starlings, a relationship, a melody, a rainbow, a far flung corner of the planet, all this and more fills me with contentment, a reminder that I have known and experienced much of this world I live in. And all this from a chance meeting and almost mystical empathy with a tree. I'm humbled.
2nd Nov 2015, 15:09