Dendrochronology

I'm always amazed at those slabs of ancient

tree trunks that show how time passes.

A seed fell and sprouted and took root.

Maybe in 1492 or 1215.

There was a drought. There was a fire.

There were good years and bad.

 

My ancient Juniper tree lives on at the back

of a my mostly unused piece of land.

Its age gives it a certain distinction.

How old can it be?

I named the tree Carlos Rey for it was surely

once the property of the King of Spain.

 

These trees grow slowly in the high desert.

They experience things that we never notice.

Once they get a good start, a toehold, they

can go on for centuries.

Carlos Rey was twig when Coronado and

the Franciscans camped just down the hill.

 

Other trees nearby show old jagged scars;

ax marks where a shepherd or soldier

stole a branch for firewood or shelter.

Even the scars are ancient.

Carlos Rey went unnoticed and unscathed.

Endurance and survival are the keys.

 

Carlos has seen good years and bad years.

I think we must be in what will be known

as bad years when some future scientist

ponders our age - our rings.

I see no small Junipers - only ancient ones.

The climate seems angry and uncooperative.

 

Life is precious. It has a memory to share.

There's a man in Sussex who counts the rings

of a Stradavari or a Montagnana or

a Matteo Groffiller.

With years of practice, and in the right hands,

the old tree rings sing with the voice of angels.

 

 

Comments 6

 
Stephen Evans on Saturday, 28 July 2018 20:22

You are so lucky to have such a venerable neighbor! I would love to make a tour someday of ancient trees.

You are so lucky to have such a venerable neighbor! I would love to make a tour someday of ancient trees.
Ken Hartke on Sunday, 29 July 2018 00:12

Sadly, people don't realize how old some of these trees are and just bulldoze their lots clean when they decide to build. The trees are relatively small compared to some of the better known elderly trees.

Sadly, people don't realize how old some of these trees are and just bulldoze their lots clean when they decide to build. The trees are relatively small compared to some of the better known elderly trees.
Rosy Cole on Sunday, 29 July 2018 17:08

This is something I ponder a lot on my dog walks. Trees are inspiring. They are companions. They somehow convey a knowledge beyond the bounds of logic and learning. They do have a timelessness, even when not veterans. It is a wondrous and fantastical thought that all things may live in the Music of the Spheres.

Here's a link to one of the oldest trees in Britain. Its branches are so bowed down that they have taken independent root and given rise to new generations.

https://www.visitchichester.org/activity/kingley-vale-trail

Thank you!

This is something I ponder a lot on my dog walks. Trees are inspiring. They are companions. They somehow convey a knowledge beyond the bounds of logic and learning. They do have a timelessness, even when not veterans. It is a wondrous and fantastical thought that all things may live in the Music of the Spheres. Here's a link to one of the oldest trees in Britain. Its branches are so bowed down that they have taken independent root and given rise to new generations. https://www.visitchichester.org/activity/kingley-vale-trail Thank you!
Ken Hartke on Sunday, 29 July 2018 18:26

Yew trees are fascinating historically because they were so revered as holy trees way back in the day. Now we use a medicinal extract derived from Yew bark to treat cancer....so maybe there is a holy connection of sorts, life giving.

Yew trees are fascinating historically because they were so revered as holy trees way back in the day. Now we use a medicinal extract derived from Yew bark to treat cancer....so maybe there is a holy connection of sorts, life giving.
Katherine Gregor on Tuesday, 31 July 2018 15:53

What a wonderful, heartwarming piece. I, too, love trees.

And I'm glad I'm not the only one to give them names. When I lived in a room in Wimbledon, I had an oak tree outside my window. I used to sit and look at the moon peering through its branches. I called the tree Merlin. He was wise and full of stories.

Now, in Norwich, I have befriended a four hundred-year-old Cedar of Lebanon. I call him Samuel. I fancy he has a deep, booming voice and doesn't suffer fools gladly.

Have you read Peter Wohlleben's wonderful book? https://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Life-Trees-Communicate_Discoveries-Secret/dp/1771642483/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1533048777&sr=1-1&keywords=peter+wohlleben

What a wonderful, heartwarming piece. I, too, love trees. And I'm glad I'm not the only one to give them names. When I lived in a room in Wimbledon, I had an oak tree outside my window. I used to sit and look at the moon peering through its branches. I called the tree Merlin. He was wise and full of stories. Now, in Norwich, I have befriended a four hundred-year-old Cedar of Lebanon. I call him Samuel. I fancy he has a deep, booming voice and doesn't suffer fools gladly. Have you read Peter Wohlleben's wonderful book? https://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Life-Trees-Communicate_Discoveries-Secret/dp/1771642483/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1533048777&sr=1-1&keywords=peter+wohlleben
Ken Hartke on Tuesday, 31 July 2018 17:02

Thanks -- I will have to find that book. I'm fascinated by old trees and what we discover about them. There's a continuity in all of this. Apparently, counting tree rings in a violin or a cello tells us when it lived as a tree and when it was transformed into an instrument that makes beautiful music. We have large Aspen groves here that cover half of a mountainside - but we now know the grove is one organism -- one huge tree connected underground to a hundred trunks. Around here, that seems to enable Aspens groves to be among the first trees to come back after a forest fire.

Thanks -- I will have to find that book. I'm fascinated by old trees and what we discover about them. There's a continuity in all of this. Apparently, counting tree rings in a violin or a cello tells us when it lived as a tree and when it was transformed into an instrument that makes beautiful music. We have large Aspen groves here that cover half of a mountainside - but we now know the grove is one organism -- one huge tree connected underground to a hundred trunks. Around here, that seems to enable Aspens groves to be among the first trees to come back after a forest fire.
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Nicholas Mackey The Bolingbroke Hook
11 December 2018
Thank you, Stephen for taking the time to read and comment. Agreed that this method of acting the ac...
Stephen Evans The Bolingbroke Hook
09 December 2018
What a wonderful memory! I learned Shakespeare this way in college, by putting it on its feet and ac...
Stephen Evans Climbing
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Thank you!
Katherine Gregor Climbing
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Beautiful poem. I love both the meaning and the rhythm.
Monika Schott You know
25 November 2018
Thanks Jitu

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