As we approach autumn the posts of other Tree Followers are filled with the excitement of change. Some trees already have a lot of colour in their about-to-fall leaves. Others are green still for all that they are tatty and marked by dust and insects.
This is because everyone except me has chosen a tree that does things - that perceptibly changes. Of course, my tree does change. There will be new needles, new little cones high up there. But I'd need powerful binoculars to see them. What I have to observe is a trunk.
In many ways it was a silly choice. But I've been following one tree after another for several years and I wanted a challenge. The challenge, in some ways, has turned out to be as challenging as cataloguing the gradual decay of a concrete post. Or faint scratches arriving over time in the paintwork of a shiny car.
You might expect me to say how if one pays special attention changes come to notice which one would otherwise miss. And this is what I had expected. At the very least, I anticipated insects. I think I've seen one spider. Last month I found a seed on a white umbrella caught in a thread of web across the rough bark of 'my' tree. It's still there! Still there! Wind and rain have failed to shift it. There it is, just where last I saw it. How can that be?
And the tree still weeps. For the sake of variety I photographed a different drip this time. If you enlarge the picture and look closely you'll see it reflecting the roofs of houses nearby and another tree.
One of the troubles with going back and back to observe change is that when change seems to have happened it's not necessarily easy to know if it's genuinely changed or that something which was there before got missed. Maybe it's a lapse of attention. Maybe it's a trick of the light. But this time I found another kind of drip. A black shiny, tarry kind of leakage.
If I visited the tree daily, maybe I'd notice which bits of bark have flaked newly away. The flaky-ness of the bark, the multi-layered-ness of it is what keeps me going back - what kept me going to see it before I chose it as 'my' tree for this year. It doesn't have the colour of Yew bark but the textures are phenomenal.
Here is a base cleff!
And at the base of the trunk on one side, little swirly things. (Very scientific!)
|iSpot members have identified this plant as Bristly Oxtongue. (Pichris echeoides).|
Isn't that wonderful?
At ground level, a few of these sticking up through docks. Pretty, eh? But ephemeral.
For all that I semi-wish my chosen tree was about to have an autumn, I appreciate its decaying solidity. There's something very special about the unchangingness of my chosen tree.
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