Here at Drygrange there are some wonderful Horse Chestnut trees in the woodland. I have two favourites in particular. One of them overhangs the drive in, and the other one is fairly nearby down a muddy slope. I always make a point of greeting them as we walk by. I have really enjoyed watching them as they change little by little over the year – or sometimes dramatically if the wind blows the last leaves off or a storm takes a branch. So I’ve decided that during 2020 I’m going to record their changes and try to learn as much as possible about them.
For January, I have recorded their skeletal bare-branched forms in my sketchbook. The best thing about the short winter days is that the trees look amazing against the low sun in the afternoons. You can see some of their history in how they are formed – scars, growth, losses.
I’d love to hear if you know of any resources – books, poems, stories, natural history – which I should be reading this year.
For now, he’s a verse from Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane:
“Only one thing can conjure
conker – and that thing is tree”