While on lockdown rambles to explore the nearby countryside, the further I ventured, the more places previously unknown revealed themselves. These discoveries captured my attention; and with that, my imagination.
Having taken plenty of photos of the things I had seen, I later started looking at the images from a different perspective, in a different light. The object of the eye might be a tree, a structure or a bridge, but the edited photos – or not – exposed an alternative perception of what the pictures had captured. It inspired something within me.
“I appeared to slip out of the moment so entirely – or, conversely, perhaps was so deeply immersed in the here and now – that I forgot who I was” – The Offing, Benjamin Myers
The first in a new short series. This one is on trees. Its title: Enchantment Climbs Through Fissures of Time.
Scurry to hollows. A place to abide. A safe space to nest. Somewhere to hide. Overwinter as one. May the season be brief. In our secret shelter, hidden by web and by leaf.
Getting away from the town has always been essential, to find running-room in organising my thoughts – in that way, not much has been different about this year, for me. Having had more time to do so, however, further to journey and the freedom to roam on foot, has inspired all kinds of perspective and positive introspection.
“Nature is our origin and the place where all our subtle needs for beauty, mystery and adventure are met . . . if we prove willing to explore its magnificent diversity” – Aristotle
The hollow of a tree stump, rotted through. A hole in the ground. Or, at a second glance, nature’s portal to an unseen subterranean world.
The cankers in the bark upon trees still living; deformed and sinister. As living things, who decides that trees have no feeling, as parasites to animals and ailments to humans?
“The world is changing: I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, and I smell it in the air” – Treebeard. The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien.
Trees that stand isolated in the centre of a forest seem prouder, more distinguished than those around it. The maple (above right) seems to have been given an almost reverential peerage from those around it.
Even as a skeleton, a tree may yet defiantly dominate the landscape, commanding in its presence until shoots birth anew.
That we share the same topography as our ancestors, even though the landscape has changed, is a thread that runs through some of my previous stories – and in the upcoming novel. It can be an overwhelming thought, the present now as a future past.
“I wonder if people in a hundred years will look back at photos of how the town looks now; whether they will hang those pictures in pubs, the same way that we do with black and white photos of the Edwardian and Georgian eras . . . Perhaps they will hang these pictures, but only as a reminder of what can happen if you simply stop caring” – John Slade [title TBC – we’re working on it!]
I’ve been very fortunate – not just this year but over the past eighteen months or so – in that I have an amazing crowd of close friends and writer pals that I have been working with – or helping with their work; or simply been inspired by – so have been keeping as busy as I want to be. I will do a project(s) update, probably in the new year. But, for now, I just wanted to share some of what has been inspiring me lately. And also to explain why you might see me standing and staring at a tree with a smile or a frown across my face. I’m not only daydreaming; it is conjuring a much greater evocation than that.
I saw the sun stuck in a tree. It was still there when I returned. I was going to set it free. But didn’t want to get burned.