Saturday, 19 March 2016

A tree has been chopped down

Ex Aboretum

A whitewashed kiss
 not of affection
but a polite request
for an imminent X it

Coded in the language of trust
Sign, sealed and delivered
in a way that is touching
but at the same time blunt 

Now an X isle
in a sea of cheap hoardings
and highly strung scaffolding
left with an exit, but no bow

I met Stephen, a windsurfer, when he asked me why I was photographing the x tree, which I explained was for my blog. "Are you going to say that a tree has been chopped down?" he said.  "Well, yes." I replied.

A tree has been chopped down. First the tree was truncated, but its branches had still reached nearly the height of the new development, which Stephen and I guessed had signalled its demise. We do not know though. In fact, the former height of x tree is now rather vague in my head, as is the shape its foreshortened limbs made against the sky. This new 'uglier' version of the tree replaced the original in my mind and quickly became as present and attractive as the original. In fact I became more attached to it and its fate after taking a photo of it.  On my daily journey through the meadows I acknowledged its presence without really realising. I suspected its days were numbered, but there it was every day, still standing. Then it was cut down. "It could make a rather nice table top for someone", remarked Stephen, who was  conscious of the fact that he would not live long enough to see a new tree grow to take its place. How long would that take, maybe 60 years? We did not know. He instinctively placed his foot on the tree. In some cultures pointing feet at something is insulting, or in our culture it could be seen as some gesture of conquest. But Stephen, I think, was feeling through his feet, just as he might gauge the current on his board. "It could be a sycamore, he said. Look it up" he said. "but then it would ask you the shape of its leaves,"he added wryly.  

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