Friday, 16 September 2011
So it's 'that' time of year again for me. The children have gone back to school, the studio has been cleaned and I am starting to look around for trees to scavenge under this autumn for beech mast and acorn cups. I've returned once again to my trusty Beech tree which I've been scrabbling round under each autumn for about five years now. This year it feels as if the mast is falling early - or perhaps it's just been blown off by the intense winds. I am amazed how it can produce so much 'stuff' year after year just from sunlight and water and whatever minerals are left in the soil. It's this kind of thought, this kind of connection, which makes this sometimes back-breaking, sometimes boring, sometimes frustrating activity so rewarding.
I have also decided this year to spend less time wandering hither and thither looking for oak trees and have settled on three trees all of which seem to have a fantastic amount of healthy looking green acorns sparkling out from the dull green leaves. For my own reference I'm going to call the places where they stand 'churchyard', 'ditch' and 'lake'.
The tree in the photograph is 'ditch'. It stands by an ancient wall in parkland and in front of it runs a kind of haha ditch which contains a simple iron fence in its depth. The ditch, the wall, the fence, the gate, the earth worn under the tree by sheltering sheep, the nettle patches, the exposed oak roots, the dipping branches and bits of caught wool are all such familiar parts of our closely used and inhabited land. Somehow this feeds my soul. Anyway, I shall return now to this spot and to my other trees about twice a week - waiting to catch the moment when 'the fall' of precious bounty begins in earnest.