So intensely have I been watching the Compote Tree and thinking about how to communicate with it, I’ve failed to take into account the presence of other plants in the garden. Spring has put paid to that wilful blindness. Even the lowliest weed is making its presence felt.
The tree itself is under some pressure. The weeds encroach upon it. Comfreys of enormous size suck up to it, thistles latch themselves to its trunk, dandelions and sticky-willy gather conspiratorially to whisper of its downfall.
Even its own kin, small twiggy sucker-plants look to steal its water and its light.
It has made me wonder about the attitude of the more mature plants that live in the garden – notably the other trees – the birch, the beech, the rowan, the maple, the apple and the olive. Do they too have thoughts and feelings I have yet to plumb?
Something akin to an arboreal network has been established here, I think. You don’t believe in information travelling between the trees? Think again. Check out this paper on W-Waves:
“We hypothesized that if insect damage caused trees to communicate, maybe damage with an axe or nail would cause the tree to send an immediate message to the surrounding trees. The evidence given here seems to indicate that this is the case.”
Exactly what travels around and back and forth between these trees is unclear to me. There is undoubtedly a discernible hierarchy, though. By which I mean, none of the other trees look at me in the same aggressive way as the Compote Tree.
The apple is authoritative and individual, I’d say – easily the compote’s equal - but I sense deference in the others (apart perhaps from the diffident, distant birch that stands alone by the pond).
Only the other day, whilst out in the garden taking photographs again, I noticed for the first time that the main gang of trees are actually arranged in a line, with the compote tree standing at the centre.
The olive is a cheat, I know. It sits in a pot, so, to some extent, it is I who placed it in line with the others – but who am I to say whether I did this voluntarily or was in some way pressured to do this? The compote tree is nothing if not a bully, that is clear to me. “A natural leader” some others might call it.
In particular, I notice that the maple – I think it is a French maple – is leaning quite strongly towards the compote tree – reaching out to it or perhaps lowering its head in its boss’s direction as an act of submission.
Yes, yes, I *know* this is all supposition and in part a reflection of my own feelings of inadequacy and insecurity about what is happening in my life at the moment, and how other beings beyond this garden may be thinking of me. But there is more to it than this.
The Compote Tree has done something dark in the past that all the other trees know about. Or they have conspired once long ago, in the way weeds conspire to muddle my plans and smother my babies. A dark secret is locked up within the Arboreal Network, and I am committed to revealing it.