Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Old Oak Tree

This is youngest lovely daughter Lily Maxine, I guess about 15 years ago or so, inside our old oak tree. When she was even younger, she had established a lair inside it, lined with retired sofa cushions and who knows what else. One night, she disappeared after playing outside in the fading summer light, and I frantically searched the house and the yard only to find her with a flashlight, sound asleep, deep inside the oak.

To understand how impressively large the trunk is, try clicking on the image and compare it to the width of the driveway, or try to make out the swing to the left. The house was built in 1770 so I imagine the tree is at least that old, or perhaps was even already there and predates the house.

Thinking about this reminded me that I always hoped to have time to learn to be a decent landscape painter, and my very first attempt was an enchanting copse of sycamores that is behind that oak (to which I could not do justice - my father with his usual and inimitable acerbic majesty observed it looked like a paint-by-number). Now, the landscape is fading before I will ever have a chance to convey how lush it was.

Here is a link to another impact of climate chaos in a faraway place:

A quote from another article in the Guardian:

"Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from 280 ppm before the industrial revolution to around 387ppm today. Environmentalists say that any new global deal on climate must restrict the growth of CO2 levels to 450ppm, though more pessimistic scientists say that the world is heading for 550ppm or even 650ppm.

""When we get up to and above 450ppm, that really means we're into the realms of catastrophic destruction of coral reefs and we'll be moving into a planetary-wide global extinction," said Rogers.

"The only way to get to 350ppm or below is not only to have major cuts in CO2 emissions but also to draw CO2 out of the atmosphere through measures such as geo-engineering."

Attenborough said the plight of the corals was another example of why the control of carbon was so important to the world's inhabitants. "Each ecological disaster or problem traces its cause back to carbon. To quibble about this is really fiddling while Rome burns. If we do not control the emission of carbon, this world is heading for a major catastrophe and this is one of the first to be staring us straight in the face.'"


  1. My father told me of when he saw a mighty oak tree fall.. ancient and proud but old and weary.. it just slumped with a mighty crash. He knew it was a harbinger event for him.

    Lovely photograph.

  2. Harbinger events are rampant lately, I am afraid! I am so sorry about your father. It is a message to us all to pay attention to portents, which are manifold.


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