My first picture provides some context for those that follow. A narrow walker’s path tracks a drainage ditch along the edge of a wood. Often muddy, part of its fascination comes from the patches of tree roots that weave through each other just above ground level.
These roots are familiar, yet I marvel at them each time I pass. Have they been left behind as soil eroded or did they surface to find air in a boggy place? Are their buttressed forms better able to anchor trees that lean out into the neighbouring meadow for sunlight, or are they seeking out better soil?
Some look more like hands or arms than roots, others remind me of alligators; many bear marks left by decades of passing feet.
A post full of them is indulgent, even given the fine excuse of Becky’s TreeSquares, but here goes!
Usually hidden, when revealed, even in half-light, they are curiosities. Clearly they are sensitive, feeling their way, forming natural overpasses wherever two meet. Though gnarly, sturdy and seemingly timeless, their fragility strikes me too, and I gnash my teeth to see deep tracks left by mountain bikers forcing their way past them through the mud.
These creeping, in places, creepy roots at my feet are part of a different life form I would like to understand better – not as something to be identified or material to be made into something useful; not as decoration or greenery; not even as the life-supporting communities they are.
Just for themselves.