Getting to know a tree

Have you ever really looked at a tree, I mean really looked, into its nooks and crannies, at the detail of its trunk, up into its spreading branches, at the texture of its leaves? 

My eye was caught today by a beautiful lime tree. It’s one of an avenue of trees along a suburban street that I often walk down on a lunchtime walk. They are large trees, tall and spreading, hiding the ground below them in their soft green embrace. 

I was there today collecting elderflowers nearby and my eyes alighted on the lime flowers, newly opened, perfectly timed to collect them for making tea. 

As I looked for the flowers with the most petals opened I began to really look at the detail of the tree. It’s been a wild, blustery day and as I gazed more intently the branches danced, the leaves providing their own gentle percussion as they brushed passed each other, the odd staccato beat added by twigs banging together. ​

​Lime leaves are short and wide, about the size of the palm of my hand, flexible and soft, almost furry against my skin. 

I was not the only one enjoying the tree, bumble bees buzzed from flower to flower. Lime leaves have a calming property when infused in a tea and I wondered if they had a similar effect on the bees, soothing the strain of collecting pollen for their queen. Ladybirds too were crawling among the leaves. 

As I looked closer, I noticed odd protruberances on some of the leaves, a line of red horns punctuating the soft green surface. Lime nail galls, caused by the lime nail gall mite. They looked rather wonderful and seemed only to be affecting a small proportion of the tree’s leaves. 

I stepped inside the curtain of leaves and the sound was louder, all enveloping in my tent of branches. The outside world faded away. The light was different here, diffused by the canopy of leaves, dappled on the floor, the occasional shaft of light finding a chink in the armour,casting a glow onto the grass beneath my feet. 

The tree bark was rough, micro sized valleys and rifts marking it, a landscape for minibeasts to make their own. 

Above me the tree branches rose cathedral like, spreading and splitting, forming a beautiful intricate structure. I could not see the blue sky, just layers of a myriad shades of green, brown, purple dappled shadows. 

I may only have spent a short time with my tree, but I left it feeling calm, in touch with nature and as if I’d made a new friend. I will remember our time together and look on it fondly when I pass this way again. 

Make friends with a tree of your own, get to know it, visit it in different seasons and learn its moods, there is a world of life in a tree, the more we look, the better we will know it. 

10 thoughts on “Getting to know a tree

  1. A wonderful beautifully written post, I am thrilled to hear about your experience making friends with a tree! I really do adore trees, each tree ever so different from the last.

    Liked by 1 person

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