Tag Archives: dead trees

Dead Tree Woman

Dead Tree Woman has felt the blow of every axe, heard the growl of chainsaws and the awful creak of life falling into death.

Dead Tree Woman is there when the ground is barren, when the roots and leaves that made the life in the soil are gone, taken for short term profit and indifference. Long after the memory of fallen trees has been erased, she remains, feeling the loss, grieving the destruction.

She is the rage of the ravaged landscape. She is the unforgiveness, the absence of compassion for those who despoil what they most need. She is revenge against greed and the thwarting of every money-hungry plan made in some lifeless office for the sake of profits that have nothing to do with life.

She is the memory of the dead. She is the life that should have been. She is wood and flesh, life and death in one body. Year by year she grows slower, heavier, weighted with pain and fury.

One day she will find some still-soft patch of earth and plant herself there, roots sinking into soil in relief and forgetfulness. One day she will overcome the brutal bitterness and become the memory of lives lost. She will recall beauty and the way summer light passes through a leaf. She will remember the sweet taste of rain on bark and soil.

One day she will forget what it means to be Dead Tree Woman. From her remains, saplings will grow and seeds will form. Her body will send forth runners that become everything she remembers, everything that was life, returning to life.

(This is a collaboration with Dr Abbey – the art is his, and it is part of a project we’re developing together. I think it’s going to be Hopepunk.)

The joy of dead trees

One of the problems with humans is that we like to ‘manage’ trees, parks and woodland by taking the dead trees out. This is fair enough if they’re dead, upright and at risk of falling onto a path at no notice. Otherwise, it makes very little sense. Wherever possible we should leave dead trees where they are.

A dead tree is an amazing habitat. All kinds of insets will make homes beneath the bark. Birds will feed on those insects, and also use holes in the tree for nest sites. Small mammals, bats, slow worms and lizards can also find homes amidst the decaying wood. Mosses, fungus and lichens can all make their homes here, too.

It is all too easy to see death as untidy, or unpleasant. However, a dead tree remains a great source of beauty as it goes through the decay process. Out of its death, comes life.

In pine woods, it is usually the dead trees that let the light in. You may have miles of dense trees (usually a plantation) with nothing but old needles underneath, and then come to a place where there is light, intense green plant life, ferns, mosses, saplings – invariably because a tree has died here and let in a possibility.

The death of a tree is very much part of the life cycle of a tree. It is a good thing to witness. It gives us stories about longevity and life after death that are a lot more sustainable.



Find out more about ancient woodland here – http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/about-us/ancient-woodland-restoration/ancient-woodland/what-is-ancient-woodland/