The wild willow tree that grows on the roadside close to our gateway has been in my view almost every day. I see it standing higher than the other hedgerow species when I arrive home in my car or from a moringing walk. I have been admiring it for over eleven years, smiling at its winter frame, low sun rays emphasizing its skeletal shapes. In summer its green foliage clothes its frame, arboreal beauty through all four seasons.
Yet its beauty I take for granted, or at least have been guilty of not paying great enough attention to this native tree for the past decade and more. Trees played an important part in the lives of my ancestors and in our modern age most of us are guilty of neglect, neglecting to appreciate the importance of trees. They clean the air, they provide timber for building, paper and fuel. They are habitats for wildlife, some provide food for our bellies, and all can soothe our souls.
I decided on December 4th to start this project and try to photograph this tree everyday for a year. At least everyday that I am home. There will be days that I will have to be away from home overnighting in another place, those days it will not be possible to photograph the tree, but every other day, I intend to photograph the tree. It is now one month since I took the first photograph and I am amazed at how much I have not noticed about the tree; in fact it is not even one tree but a group of trees. The tree is part of a hedgerow, the hedgerow lines the road, it borders the field and all are part of the project.
Each day brings different weather, a change of light, a new cloud pattern, a difference in density of cloud. Different times of day have changes in light; a golden dawn, a bllue grey misty morn, a silver afternoon or pink cloud sunset. As the seasons change so will the tree, buds will burst, flowers will emerge and leaves unfold, green will cover grey, green will fade to brown, brown will fall and the grey stems will be revealed again.
One tree, 365 days, a native willow tree on a country lane, a group of trees in the hedgerow beside the ditch that borders the field, the same tree each day, each day different.
If you like trees you might like www.scoodoos.com
I teach horticulture and gardening www.thegardenschool.ie
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