Thursday, April 8, 2010

Backtracking in the Web

I came here to this place 38 years ago. There wasn't running water or the inside facilities that go with it. That was when I used the old wooden washing machine. It had a wringer too. I haven't yet made the wringer to go with my little Acme Queen because I am one gear short of having 4 for the wringer gears.

Over the years I realize that I have always gone to more trouble to be with the natural world than to be with people. Most all of the pictures I have taken have been of plants and creatures. We have some spectacular old oaks here, but I have also seen a number of them come down. There was an especially beautiful and perfect burr oak on the neighbor's bottom pasture, down along Bear Creek. He stood by himself out in the open and had thus grown to a perfect form. I have a picture of him here, when he was in his full glory. Unfortunately 2 or 3 years ago he just all fell apart. Now he is home to insects and fungus and others who gradually return him to the soil where perhaps another small acorn will take root. But the way things are changing I doubt that a tree like him will ever be seen there again.

Many of our oaks have so much character that I have named them. Michael and Zeus guard our lane. Gemini stands out front. The birds line up on his limbs, waiting to descend to the main feeders when there is heavy traffic. Twister stands behind the house. His trunk and limbs have grown like a corkscrew, and he sports a gooseberry bush that some bird planted, about 10 feet or so up in a crotch. Knobby grows down by the ravine. He sheds some of the knobbiest twigs and all of the places where other twigs or branches join are large and exaggerated. If they have separated then what is left are two very pleasing large round features, one concave and the other convex, with ridges radiating out from the center. I call the concave ones Fingerprints of the Creator. If you ever need a shot of inspiration, just look at the gnarled bark or grain, or features like these "fingerprints" and see that it is as though the force of life were frozen into the features of trees. They appear to wear their hearts on their sleeves, so to speak.

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