To be honest with you I don't like it. I don't like it at all.
Very little rattles me. Give me a chopped off finger, some blood, some gore...creaking floorboards or a spooky ol' graveyard on All Hallows Eve and I'll laugh in the face of fear....but I'm not very happy about the big old tree that's lying up there in the orchard. The tree that toppled only yesterday.
I have my big bright torch and the ability to say boo to a goose but there are still shivers going up my spine as I walk to the field to shut hens in. An unfamiliar shape up there to my left. The big tipped-up root is horrid, the gnarled tangle of snapped branches and vastness of its dark girth is heavy and foreboding....ye gods it could rise up and roar at me. I would not be surprised if it did. I am spooked.
I'm not and never have been a 'tree-hugger' - yet have always afforded them respect none-the-less. There are vague memories of my father telling me what a bad thing it was to carve into the bark - would that be paring into the tree's very soul I wonder now? His words? 'They don't like it.' Whatever. The 5 year old me took his advice on board and have never knowingly done an unkind thing to a tree. I've come to understand the reverence that ancient man felt towards these leviathans of forest and hill - what powerful symbols of longevity and permanence they must have seemed.
The fallen tree's neighbour will be felled next week; having taken advice we believe it is too dangerous to leave standing. I also have a curious feeling that without its life's partner it will fade and die quickly anyway. We will see this as an opportunity to replant - undoubtably for future generations.
Tomorrow I shall go up into the orchard and stroke the bark a bit. I'll say goodbye - ask 'Please, don't frighten me in the dark anymore. It will be OK old beech tree - this is the next part of your journey. The Glam Ass will be persuaded to make something from your timber. In that you will live on. '
And there will of course be other trees.