Persistence

hill of vision II 139

It was the hottest day in ages, so of course we decided to climb the steepest hill in the area, with neither hat nor water. And we would do it via the longest route and the steepest slope. By the time we were on our way down again, it would not have been surprising had we been hallucinating, which may explain why the great branches of the shattered tree looked like a smiling monster, arching over the path.

hill of vision II 142

The tree had little to smile about though. Whether by the weight of its limbs or a lightning strike, the branches had snapped from the trunk, leaning forlornly away from the place of its growth. What had broken away was  itself as wide as a tree trunk, its heartwood shattered and exposed. You could only imagine the age and the years it had seen. Where the branches had fallen, the wood had begun to rot and small creatures were at work, burrowing, buzzing, turning the carcass into new homes and returning it to the earth. Dead leaves still clung to the branches; for them, autumn had come early. The tree didn’t seem to mind; its wood carved by Nature herself into a semblance of its serene spirit. The lined and bearded face of the ancient one lay upon a bed of green and watched the clouds pass.

hill of vision II 138

Yet, as we looked around, it was clear that even in defeat, the tree had not given up. Long after midsummer when the leaves are holding their breath before the blaze of autumn, for this ancient tree, incredibly, it was spring. Tender green leaves were unfurling, months late, from the one unbroken branch. Its spring had come late, yet it was beginning. Life, like hope, is tenacious.

hill of vision II 143

Life does not die, nor does hope; only the forms that hold it decay and dissolve. The dead wood had gone and now the tree needed only to give its energy to that which would grow…and around us the delicate tracery of its branches carried a constellation of green. In what seemed to be death, life had found a way. In apparent destruction, a fresh beginning.

hill of vision II 144

14 thoughts on “Persistence

      1. I know, but you’ve got to be careful. The heat is so intense and let’s not discuss the ozone layer or lack of one. Don’t know about your summer but ours has been unbearably hot — with the humidex our temoeratures have climbed as high as 39 celcius for months on end. Really unheard of and so dangerous. So be careful and use sunscreen as well.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We don’t get that hot here… I think 32 is about as high as it goes, which is usually way too hot for me unless I’ m climbing hills… and the two seem to coincide fairly frequently. We should be better prepared, but it never seems to work out that way.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. We took the three grandchildren to the Welsh Botanical Gardens on the hottest day last week. Plenty of sunscreen, hats and water … and picnic. They ran everywhere. We staggered. Went home after six hours for a rest. The cry went up ‘what shall we do now/’. We took them back to their parents. It’s lovely being the grandparents!! jx

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