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The Tuesday tree: the afterlife of an oak

March 15, 2011

Long years ago, so many that there is now no trace in the bare earth of where its roots grew, a great oak came down in a field near the castle. There it lay, while a lime tree grew up and became old beside it, reaching knotty branches over the fallen trunk.

our west highland terrier explores the fallen tree trunk

In its long, slow decay, the oak is still a thing of beauty,

sinuous lines of branch and trunk

of usefulness,

wool, caught where sheep have rubbed themselves against the trunk

and of nourishment.

fungi established on the decaying wood

moss and nettles growing in the crumbling bark

It is also a pirate’s galleon with a high poop deck, and a dragon to be fought and slain by a sword-thrust to its gaping jaws.

the dauntless knight slays the dragon


I suspect that the oak will continue to be all these things, long after we are gone.


See also: Recycling an oak tree

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Deb permalink
    March 16, 2011 8:45 pm

    Such an ancient tree. Recently in our newspaper there was an article about trees. Apparently a group called the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is attempting to clone ancient trees to try to restore ancient forests. The idea is that the trees will cleanse the environment and absorb carbon dioxide. People are now realizing how essential these trees have always been for humans and our environment, and are attempting to recreate the forests of the past in order to preserve our future.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      March 16, 2011 10:56 pm

      What a wonderful name for the group! I don’t know that ancient trees were any better than younger trees, but I do know that we can’t survive without forests.

  2. March 16, 2011 11:24 pm

    Fallen trees used to be all sorts of things to my sister and I too when we were younger – castles, horses, hiding places from bandits. Some things never change, and, I imagine, never will. I like this different slant on the Tuesday tree.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      March 17, 2011 9:34 am

      Yes, it was the same for us. They make wonderful playgrounds of the imagination.

  3. March 19, 2011 5:27 pm

    I love the way the fallen trees become colonised by all sorts of other “life” – the tree lives on in many forms long after it has fallen from it’s former splendour.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      March 20, 2011 5:25 pm

      Yes, it’s wonderful, isn’t it. There must be lots of insects there too, I suppose.


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