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Dendrophilia (look it up)

March 21, 2022

Yes, yes, I know it’s been a while, but, you know, ups and downs. (More downs than ups.) Well, today’s your lucky day. The fortnightly newsletter of the local arts council contains a section called “Inspiration Diary”. Local artists (of whom there are an abundance) write something about the inspiration for their work. Last week I was asked to pen the contribution for this week’s newsletter. My first reaction was “Inspiration? What inspiration?” Then I realised that there was something that had been inspiring me for quite some time. Not the unfinished novels or plays. No, they remain as unfinished as they’ve been for months or years. Something completely different. So, I agreed to write something which I’ve just finished and sent off. It was a nice distraction from the fact that today is the twelfth anniversary of Mike going into the bathroom to brush his teeth and dying of a massive heart attack. 

This is the last photo taken of Mike, three days before he died. His granddaughter must be 17 now. I haven’t seen her – or anyone else in Mike’s family – since shortly after his funeral. Blame avarice. (Not mine.)

Anyway, seeing as I actually wrote something this morning, I figured I might as well share it. 

INSPIRATION DIARY

I know this diary is supposed to be about creative inspiration, but that’s been pretty thin on the ground since lockdown in 2020. (That said, I was inspired, when Gabriola Players was in desperate need of one-act plays that could be performed on Zoom last spring, to dig out an old script written for radio and convert it into a pretty good online play.)

When I was asked to provide this issue’s instalment, I agreed because I wanted to write something about my greatest pandemic inspiration: trees.

In March 2020 I started going for regular walks in the woods with my friend Joe. Exercise and an actual conversation with an actual person were the main reasons for these walks. Trees were the bonus.

On an early walk we came across what we dubbed the “woodpecker condo”, as it had so many rectangular holes pecked into it. But this is what closer inspection revealed.

The tree was repairing the damage. I know this will come as no surprise to the arborists out there, but it amazed me.

Or check this out.

We started to notice stumps that tried to repair the chainsaw damage, but this one had so much will to survive that it managed to completely cover the wound. 

And then, on a recent walk, we came across this.

A tree that began life, as many do, taking nutrients from the remains of another tree. When this ten-foot stump stopped providing said nutrients, roots, now huge, were cast out to find the ground. One of the most awesome sights I’ve ever seen.

Unbeknownst to me (I’d never heard the term until a couple of weeks ago), exercise and a chat had turned into forest bathing. And it’s bloody inspiring.

From → Blog

3 Comments
  1. krysross permalink

    My brother drives to his local forest (Durham, about 5 minutes away) almost every day for a walk, or sometimes a cross country ski. He’s been doing it for about 30 years. I wonder if anyone knows Durham forest as well as he does. When they have guests, they always try to get everyone to go for a forest walk. And he likes to say, “motion is lotion.”

  2. Donna permalink

    Inspiring, indeed 🙂

  3. Susan Yates permalink

    As you probably know, I’m definitely a dendrophiliac. The forest makes its own magic, nicely shown with your photos here.

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