Friday, August 17, 2018

A Titan Falls

One of the grand trees on my principal worksite was an enormous willow, growing not far from the bank of our local watercourse. It had a sprawling crown and dominated one of our open fields. Alas, it finally succumbed to horrible weather this year, splitting in half about a month ago, and finally falling to the ground this past week:

The still-green foliage of the fallen tree stands in marked contrast to the portion of the boll which had split off earlier this year:

This summer has been marked by inclement weather. Tonight is a stormy night, the sort of night which takes down tree branches. I had to travel to another site tonight in response to an alarm activation- the direct route is bad enough, going through a fairly congested downtown area, but tonight a tree limb had come down, hitting a couple of parked cars. The traffic was completely snarled up, making a typically annoying drive into a true source of frustration. I ended up driving back along a circuitous route in order to avoid the always-congested, now-constricted road.

I'm working a double shift, and between falling trees and the possibility of basement flooding, it promises to be a not-so-pleasant night. The loss of our ancient willow tree is genuinely sad, not merely unpleasant. It was a landmark onsite, a venerable living thing of great beauty.


StringOnAStick said...

Willows are lovely trees but are unfortunately prone to virus infections and the resulting Roy weakens them; bad weather doesn't help that tendency at all. Sorry your work place lost a grand old tree.

StringOnAStick said...

Rot, not Roy! Kindle typing is not that great...

Li'l Innocent said...

I don't know what the maintenance practices for this kind of situation is at your site, but you might be interested in looking up the topic of re-rooting or re-growth of streamside willows that have fallen. Tree species that are adapted to living near watercourses, on floodplains, or other places that are prone to sudden rises in water level often have re-growth capacities that let them survive and propagate themselves in that kind of environment. Maybe that could be the case with your big willow?

I sympathize with the sorrow you expressed over its fall. Trees are important!

There's a fascinating book by a remarkable British scholar of trees and the relation between people and plants that you might enjoy, "The History of the Countryside" by the late Oxford professor Oliver Rackham. What I said above is kind of a re-phrase of his description of the re-rooting capacity of cottonwoods along rivers in the western US. He relates it to the closely-related black poplar of Europe, now very rare in the UK probably, he suggests, because the primeval flood-plains of Britain have been drained by millennia of human activity.

I think you'd love the book - a good paper edition is available. It'd make great reading on quiet nights, especially with kitty companionship!