The Tuesday tree: smocked sweet chestnut
There are two sweet chestnuts growing side by side in my favourite wood which have always given me pleasure. The first, because it seems to twist as it grows, thus appearing to be in perpetual energetic motion.
And the second, which grows straight up, because it has the most beautiful bark. The pattern on the bark suggests that it was pleated and has unfolded as it grew, like a concertina or an Elizabethan ruff.
Alternatively, it makes me think of smocking, that ancient art of beautifying and strengthening clothing.
I bought or inherited one or two precious little smocked romper suits and shirts for my children when they were babies. It was so sad when the boys grew out of them and into the mundane clothes suitable for nursery rough-and-tumble. Needless to say, I still have the smocked baby clothes, packed away in acid-free tissue paper in the hopes that future generations might still appreciate such treasures.
The baby clothes might be long put away, but the beautiful ‘smocked’ bark of this chestnut is there in the woods to enjoy on every walk.
You might enjoy Do the twist.