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Friday 19 June 2009


I thought this might be an apt post to follow my poem on the ecology of the redwood forest canopy: out for a wander with my camera recently, I came upon this scene of mystery. It was in an area where the undergrowth is managed, was cut back, almost to a non-existence last year, though you'd not think so now. As can be seen from the photographs, a silver birch has been snapped off a few feet from the ground. A broken section of a silver birch trunk is leaning against a third tree. But what really took my eye was a second section of silver birch trunk, also clearly broken-off (as opposed to sawn or axed, for example), perched vertically, and very precariously, on a branch of the third tree. Neither of these sections, I think, could have come from the broken trunk still in the earth as they are both thicker than it. Neither could I find any other broken silver birch trees. The first reaction was to think that maybe some local lads had been having a lark, but there was no sign that the vegetation, thick around that particular tree, had been trampled or otherwise disturbed. Thinking of the likely weight of the elevated trunk section also seemed to argue that larking was an unlikely cause. Maybe, I conjectured, the said trunk had been tossed there by a fugitive from the Highland Games... but then I thought: just one way to resolve this, that lot from blogland are all more imaginative than I. So, any suggestions?


Lucas said...

On Hampstead Heath, oficials are systematically chopping down silver birches because they say they are not an indiginous species. There is an ecological ratioale of some kind that I don't comprehend. Could your silver birches have been attacked by a deep ecologists, Dave?

Aniket Thakkar said...

I think they are Ents. They must have gotten into a fight among themselves.

Yup, that's what I believe. :D
(Well you called on for imaginative friends. :P)

Tabor said...

Having worked with an agency that worked with the weather service, I can only surmise an unusual weather event with local winds.

Shadow said...

i know you don't like them, but this is a gesture anyway...

something for you here


Rosaria Williams said...

Rain, wind, animals, any and all can crop off a tree. Your suggestion is a great one, and I can't top that.

A Cuban In London said...

Dave, the trees were involved in some sexual shenanigans (c'mon, they're plants after all, they feel:-D!) and for some reason or other, they got tangled up and were too embarrassed to call 999.

Joking aside, it is very strange indeed. Many thanks for the post and the photos.

Greetings from London.

Unknown said...

Hi Dave,

Maybe someone went to a lot of trouble just to give you a puzzle? Or maybe it is a piece of land art and the winches and pulleys have now been taken away?

Caio Fern said...

hi ! this is the first time i visit your blog . i spent a long time here. everything is realy good .

Fiendish said...

I can't explain it. It is very very odd indeed. High winds around there much? Even that's a little far-fetched, really, isn't it?

Conda Douglas said...

Hunh, if it was this part of the U.S., Dave, I'd say it was probably bear cubs climbing, especially this time of year. That's probably not it, not in your neck of the woods (sorry, couldn't resist the pun).

Crafty Green Poet said...

Very strange, no explanations here...

gleaner said...

No explanations here either....I wonder whether I would even notice this if I was in the forest, its full of mysteries.

Friko said...

I've just come to you via Tabor; your profile very much describes the sort of person I like. I share many of your interests.
I'd love to come back and read more, just as soon as I can work out a way to enlarge your typescript.

Anonymous said...

good omen for you to see this rare thing! aloha, cloudia

Tressa bailey said...

I dunno... In my family we blame all oddities like this on ghosts or aliens from outer space. Might not be true but its pretty fun conjecturing the possibilities.....

Thanks for stopping by my blog, it is always good to *meet* someone new.

The lady in Red said...

As always ..intriguing Post and learn much more English with you Dave,
Have a very nice Sunday and a wonderful week,
Best wishes,

Dave King said...

Makes me feel like I want to start a Silver Birch Preservation Society!

Good thinking, that. Impressive!

I've got another photograph waiting in the wings that's all about winds. You must be psychic.

Thanks for that - I am planning to set up another website or blog, just for those. They are appreciated. Might be a ady or two before I find the time to get there, but thanks again.

I did think beavers - but the difficulty is how did they get it up in the tree and manage to balance it?

A Cuban in London
I must be getting old: I didn't once think of sex!

First Tabor and now you have pre-empted another (not the same) photograph I have waiting in the wings. Neither of you to blame, of course; all part of the same universal conspiracy that is currently targetting me!

Caio Fernandes
Welcome to the blog. Good to have you visit. Thanks for the comment.

Mmmm, not impossible, I guess. May have escaped from somewhere. I shall tread with care around there in future.

Mmmm, but it's not that wild a place...

Welcome. Good to have you aboard. Sorry about the typescript. It seems to happen outside my control whenever I post a poem having longer lines.

Anonymous (Cloudia?)
Thank you for such an encouraging forecast.

Welcome to the blog. Bit heavy for a ghost, I would have thought, but aliens, now there a thought of different hue!! Thanks for that.

The Lady in Red
Many thanks for your good wishes.

Hilary said...

My first thought was bears or beavers.. if it was near a creek or river. But they'd have to be mighty industrious.. and forgetful.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I'm glad to find yours in return. :)

Dave King said...

I'd like to think it was beavers - there's water nearby - but it doesn't seem likely.

Kat Mortensen said...

Hi Dave,

I was just about to say, beavers as well, but I see you've ruled that out. Precision lightning-strikes, perhaps? Very perplexing, that's for sure.


Jeanne Estridge said...

How very odd.

I think I'm going for the Ents explanation.

haiku-shelf (Angelika Wienert) said...

During dinner we (my husband and I) talked about Stonehenge (we've been there some years ago) and now I see this beautiful picture and read your words. I'll come back tomorrow and read again because I read to quick.

See you later,

Dave King said...

Me? I never rule anything out, it's against my religion! Nope, I am beginning to think there must have been at least two agencies at work here. Beavers may well have done the initial severing of limb from limb, but we are still looking for who or what elevated the chewed branch and balanced it so precariously on one still attached.

It's my own fault, of course, but my ignorance has really been shown up by this. I really did not know what an ent was and had to look it up. The Tolkien phantasies have completely passed me by, you see. Had I known about them, they would have been my first thought.

Welcome to my blog and many thanks for taking the time out to comment.

Anonymous said...

Dave - I think this is where one of Jilly Nines moon shots comes into the picture. . . yes? When I saw this the other day, I was thinking bear? yeti? bigfoot? but I realize I am on the wrong continent with those assumptions. Ah me. Must be wind. I remember being in London, oh gosh it must be close to 20 years ago, after a windstorm knocked down 10 giant trees near my company's offices in Berkeley Square. I'd never seen anything like it. Thank you for visiting the half life of linoleum. It's great having you visit.