A slow read - hope you enjoy it.
Buttercupdays Posts: 4,357
Last night I walked out to see an old friend.
Down the sheep field beside the boggy wilderness, through the gateway in the stone wall by the sycamores. Then along pathways carved not by human feet, but by sheeps' hooves, making terraces of the steep slope. Through the gorse bushes, the slope here pockmarked with badger holes, half hidden among the roots, then a scramble down to the narrow channel of the stream and the rushy marsh beyond.
Then up the bank, but still downhill and there was my friend, the ancient crab apple tree, resplendent with blossom.
Who knows how many years ago, a seed found its way, brought by animal or bird, to the steeply sloping bank linking one marsh with another.
It grew and flourished, grew a stout trunk and wide spreading branches. Then one fateful day it was cast down, by easterly gales or the waterlogged soil giving way. Its roots were part ripped from the ground and pointed heavenwards, its trunk spanned the stream and its branches half buried in the soil. This is how I have always known it, nearly 40 years now. As the only crab apple around, I have never known it bear fruit. There are a couple now in the garden, but though less than a mile, it is still a fair distance for a bee to fly, so fertilisation would be unlikely.
From afar it looks like three small trees together, but when you get closer you see the thick branches, covered with moss and lichen, that join at the original trunk. Animals use that as a bridge, and I sat on it with my feet over the water. Leaning over, my arms could embrace the trunk, but my fingertips barely touched.
Climbing back up the bank, the blossom was at head height and easy to enjoy. The lower branches were bare and dead, nibbled by sheep and used for back rubbing, but there were insects working the flowers, and all over the trunk and branches and by the ruined roots there were tiny green shoots sprouting.
It made me think and gave me hope. Auden's contemptuous tree tempted fate.
This tree has met fate head on and is still resurgent