I have been weaning myself a little from my Glen habit, making space for other things and i am missing my daily missives and meanders. I got a message from I yesterday about the clumsy felling of a tree. I saw his video and new it was the old dead elm by the S wall, that conjurer, conductor with witches arms, her bony elbows lifted to raise the levels all about her, river river river she beckoned, sometimes the mist rising to her arms, she held that spot by the S wall, there not so long as it, but comfortably nestled.
Looking back at my photos I see a year ago she had a partner by her side, and now I remember challenging M who was there with his collection of saws and his butcher’s bike, harvesting neatly in the Glen, so what, the tree was dead he said.
This time, it seems, it was a company sent by the council to come on a Sunday and take out the main trunk, leaving the amputated branches tangling over the river, the bones of the witches arms. Her cross-sectioned trunk looked pinkish like a steak, the compact rings still dense and moist, nothing giving there (not like the old Poplar that came down in the storm, her heart eaten out and weakened from the core). Chippings from the cutting lie in the cupped heliotropes that gather still untouched at her base.
Looking back I see the last shot I took of this beautiful presence was on April the first, though she has framed my view so many times and I have been tempted to capture her…and chose to drink in the moment instead. She is always gently there at dusk for the bats. I find again some shots from February 14th – a Valentine with blue sky.
The time before that it was on the winter solstice, in the damp deep fog. Then that time before was 2nd November into the new year after Halloween, the sweep of the wall hauling me in, then it was 24th August last, when P the wall did his clean up and the council cemented it up and I caught a glimpse of the furtive actions of a long haired, young man, head down with his black dog on a red lead, scribing the soft surface with lock down impressions, by the time I swooped back on my loop another walker had rubbed it out and so then I felt compelled to trace back over the letters, it felt false to me and I rubbed it out again, then I assume it was the young man again with sweeping hair that came back and wrote on the river facing side, away from human view, and it remained till hardened and got painted white.
The witchy tree oversaw all of this activity and more, she over heard the teenage action on the island and was a perch for the birds. She was difficult to capture in the wide-angle view of the phone, the lens diminishing her sweeping power, but every time I passed her I acknowledged her knuckley elbows and seductive power.