Entries in green (2)


Ash Grey Sleeping Trees

Driving along the Virginia freeway at dusk, between the Dirty Old Black Dog bar and Denise's 50's Diner, we came upon a region of tall straight trees completely bare of leaves. Their trunks were soot-black in the failing light. Shrubs on the ground and smaller evergreens dotted here and there gave lie to the idea that these trees had burned. Most striking of all, the higher branches, all swept upwards like slim brooms, were also black and at their edges, they were luminously grey as though dusted with ashes against the darkening sky. But these trees have burned naturally. Their leaves were bathed in the Virginia sun all summer long and when that fire ran out in the autumn, and the leaves fell, the weathering rain and the gathering gloom had washed the branches to exactly the same tones as if a fire had surged through them, the two processes having the same end; a brutally exhausted sleeping tree, dusted with ash.


Ten Thousand Words for Green

It has rained until the sky is sore from it. The washes which were meadows are a great grey river which would humble the Thames or the Severn. The ditches are full and if you dig through the black mixture of fen peat and silt which makes up our pregnant earth until you reach the clay, the water runs over it like a conspiracy discovered.

And so everything is green. Even the umbrella plant, though it is indoors, has exploded in its new home as if inspired, its stem ripped apart by new growth and its leaves which were thin and waxy now thick like a succulent's. In the Junes of past years, the leaves would be acquiring their summer's dust. Not now. They are thick and washed every shade of green that there are words for. The beech is so verdant it may never turn bronze again. The grass punches at your feet. The night-planted orchard is enjoying the shyness of the sun. The apples, plums and cherries are still all emerald, like undifferentiated children drinking their fill. The leaves of the sage loll like dogs tongues. The whips that we planted to make into a summerhouse are drinking their fill and their neighbour, the great willow, waves its stranded leaves like a great mane and proclaims its joy to the skies. The shades of green are uncountable and unnameable.