Sunday, June 24, 2007

tree spirits

Every time I walk outside I am drawn to this tree's strong spirit. The split is visually appealing and its position on a rise in the earth, surrounded by a bed of moss, invites anyone passing by to stop and sit for a while.

Behind the tree there's a little clearing, almost like a secret room, currently occupied by our compost bin and a broken chair awaiting a new purpose. I have an idea that I'll get a camp desk and chair and set it up in there, the perfect spot for composing scenes, poems, blog entries.


shara said...

Our alder tree has a similar split, sometimes it's twins (my mother was one) or lovers. In any case, it's a beautiful thing, and much-loved. Will you show the secret room?

billie said...

I briefly wondered how I'd capture it from inside - almost seems I'd need a special camera or lens!

We had a tulip poplar that had split 4 ways - we lost one split to a storm and the horses (mostly Cody!) debarked another to the point we're not sure it's still living. It's now wrapped in chicken wire to keep the horses away.

There's a tree in the Great Smokies I love too - it's a twin trunk that splits and grows back together 5 separate times from the base up to the top - reminds me of a very long relationship or a marriage - the way people grow apart and come back together again.

shara said...

Oh what a series of overlapping pictures that would be, travelling up that trunk, splitting apart and coming together! A tulip poplar, I don't know that one, I'll have to look it up - I love the sound of poplar leaves, so clattery, the cottonwoods are a close second - their fluff's been everywhere lately, like snow in June.

billie said...

The horses seem to love both the tulip poplar's leaves and its bark - and it does have a very distinctive sound in the breeze!

I have not taken photos in the Smokies and regret that I never got a photo of the Wonderland Hotel (abandoned after a fire) that was in Elkmont - the same place as the tree. They fenced off the Wonderland for many years but you could still see the grandeur it once had, and I always felt there were people dancing there. Recently they took it down, and I heard they plan to build something new there - which I find distressing. Elkmont is one of my favorite places and I just can't imagine a hotel there unless it's something very quaint and small. Even then, the idea of a driveway and parking lot and modern amenities makes me sad.

I was there so many times but I never took photos!

Carolyn Burns Bass said...

What a gorgeous photo, Billie. I love your metaphor about the tree in the Great Smokies. Have you written a short story about it yet?

billie said...

Carolyn, it has been a long time since I wrote a short story. :) That tree made it into the second novel but then the scene got cut. It's possible it could come into the novel-in-progress when I get back to it.

All this talk about Elkmont and the tree is making me *really* want to go. :)

Camera in hand!

Matthew said...

It is a very peaceful scene indeed.

Pauline said...

There is something about a special tree that calls to you. I have an old split pine on my childhood home street. I go there often to leave a token - a strand of hair or a bit of grass from my present home. I send wind messages to my children from the branches of that pine...and when I am feeling especially homesick, that tree appears in my mind's eye as a comfort.

The writings from the camp desk would be influenced but your tree, I imagine

billie said...

Yes, Matthew, it is peaceful there.

Pauline, I love the idea of leaving tokens by a special tree. I've done that before and it has made its way into one of my books - and the idea of sending messages via the wind in the pine is beautiful and I would bet very effective.

We have a reclining pine in the back field that is one of the most distinctive trees I've ever seen. It holds court back there, without a doubt.