Old Tree's Last Dance
On the drive out, to Plymouth via Tavistock, fat mist rolls over the moor. Twists of bacchanalian gorse are waiting for the dark. The dark takes its time.
On the drive back, to Launceston via Callington; the colours are concentrated, not consumed. The mist has lingered. The wet road reflects. Everything blends, like Monet has painted this evening for us.
At the road edge, wistful leafage deepens slowly to silhouette. Night is here; tremulous trees breathe night air.
Trees are different creatures by night.
Boy reports, on his looking from the window to survey the likely pattern of the day’s weather, that a tree has fallen across the lane. An elderly damson, I think, on closer inspection, as it has crumbled, not fallen. The wood disintegrates in my fingers, soft as the flat grey air, flaking like pastry. Mix it all up, says my playful imagination, bake a damson pie. In the debris, I find a nest, small enough to decorate the imaginary pie. A palm-spanning hemisphere; woven in moss, fine grass stems, skeletal leaves. This discovery I fetch back to the house.
Across the lane, fragments of rotted wood lie like the weary ghost of the old tree.