Grow, Tree, Grow!
Dom Conlon and Anastasia Izlesou
The fifth in the Wild Wanderers series is every bit as good as the previous titles; in fact as trees are my number one thing in nature, this, with an Oak tree as its main focus is my favourite so far.
In his wonderful lyrical text Dom describes how in the forest as winter departs, an oak sapling is slowly growing to become Tree. All around minibeasts, rabbits and larger creatures are hunting for food to survive.
Many years later we see Tree has become a safe haven – ‘a canopy-guarder / a sanctuary for all to share.’ All being squirrels, woodpeckers, birds, bats, spiders and badgers.
Growing in the forest too are other trees – chestnut, ash and beech, each helping to keep the atmosphere clean, … ‘and branch is to sky / as root is to earth so // grow, Tree, grow!’ urges the narrative.
Seasons come and go bringing changes in the form of acorns within each of which lies another potential oak, but squirrels have designs on these goodies so Tree must make more and yet more till they’re ready to fall. The ground though is shared with acorn-loving pigs but they are not the biggest danger: that is the people who chop down the precious trees to make room for towns full of houses, shops and traffic.
Is it possible that a thousand years have passed since Tree’s tiny sapling started to grow; it surely is, but nothing in nature lasts for ever. Even an oak as majestic, as awesome as Tree must eventually die and now its time has come so, ‘rest Tree, rest.’ while all around new life springs forth and the wondrous cycles of nature continue – each to each returns its need and life goes on.
The web of life that is harboured during the lifetime of an oak tree is brilliantly caught in Anastasia Izlesou’s intricate tracery of lines and shades of russets and greens. Simply gorgeous!