In late January I spoke of trees along the banks of one of the major local creeks. More specifically, I showed you some of the trees so near the water’s edge that they have slowly grown to lean over the water, some of them reaching to the other side. I said in relation to the photos in that post:
Erosion has taken from them the space that once existed between their lives and the flow’s continuous march toward the lake. This process has left many ancient souls now precariously dangled over the water, trunks leaning toward impending doom. While their roots undoubtedly have stretched far away from the creek with hope of maintaining a strong grasp on solid ground, it looks to me that they can never truly win the battle. Eventually the waters will take from them the very soil upon which they stand.
I can now report one of the trees in that first image has finally succumbed to to the constant tearing at its roots by the creek. With all the flooding that has taken place here recently, it was only a matter of time.
As is obvious, the tree now rests across the creek from bank to bank, its once proud branches now haphazard projectiles both above and below the water’s surface. The bulk of the arboreal spirit blocks the flow of water and captures everything journeying toward the lake. In fact, that photo demonstrates some litter and a great deal of blossom detritus held frozen in time.
The tree had already donned an impressive amount of its spring verdancy. Lush greenery adorned its fallen form, most of it still lively in appearance and color. But instead of capturing sunlight and offering cover to local wildlife, it’s left capturing whatever debris floats down the creek and offering cover only for those capable of utilizing this new and temporary bridge.
A great rending of the earth has taken place where its roots once held strong, once tightly grasped beneath the surface whatever they could find to leverage against the ravages of the creek’s unending torrent. I found it captivating to see how far away from the hole the ground had been broken. Even as the most damage occurred directly beneath the tree’s base, its increasingly tenuous position had just the effect I pondered originally: its roots stretched far and wide away from the leaning tree and toward solid ground. But when the life ended, those roots served no purpose other than to pull and tear at the planet’s flesh, even at great distances from where the final incision would be made.
Standing near the wound reveals a painful vision of broken bones once meant to supply the old soul with nourishment and fluids from the ground. Now, instead of surreptitiously snaking about the soil hidden from sight, they protrude into the air and across a great chasm like so many broken bones. One could not possibly ignore use of the broken limb metaphor to describe them, and one would not be wrong in doing so.
A skin of grass stretched taught over sinewy flesh made of dirt wrapped within their hold the ligneous skeleton of feet buried with inscrutable silence and ageless patience. That skeleton, finding itself progressively unable to hold its body upright, now proffers evidence of the predator time.
I weep for the loss of this god amongst men. To see an ancient being so vehemently thrown down grain by grain, drop by drop…