in praise of hawthorn

I like a gnarly old Hawthorn tree. They’re a stoic kind of tree, not fussy about position and soil quality at all, seeming to just get on with doing their thing wherever they find themselves growing. Most don’t end up being trees at all, just a constantly trimmed piece of a mixed hedgerow environment, so they end up competing in a dense tangle of other species, never attaining their freedom.

When they do get to grow as a tree, it’s largely because they’ve eked out an existence on a slope or bank inaccessible to farm machinery, so they are just left to get on with making the best they can from a precarious and often exposed position.

But they’re always interesting to me, whether in their skeletal, bare, twisted and leafless winter mode or, as on this occasion, in the low evening sun of summer, with the sunlight highlighting the textures.

It’s the first time I’ve taken my camera with me for months (the last shot posted here last week was taken years ago, but I just wanted to try to kick off the blog afresh with something). Probably, I should try going out to photograph when I haven’t got my dog on a lead in one hand and a walking stick in the other, making stopping and exploring a scene an exercise of juggling and limb control – which is slightly more difficult for me, post-stroke and light MS.

Photography during a dog walk means putting the lead down, standing on it with one foot to prevent a small but keen dog running off after rabbits, swinging the camera bag around to get camera out, putting stick down on floor to allow two handed camera use, keeping balance while doing all of these things, and trying to concentrate, hopefully without the dog tugging at the lead handle under my foot and escaping at high speed into the gorse and bracken (she’s a terrier, so her brain capacity to respond to ever more urgent commands reduces to 0% instead of the usual 15% once the smell of rabbit takes over).

A diagonal sheep path, worn into the bank on a route between these two trees, with the longer grass species and their seed heads catching the late sun.

Low light grazes across the trunk through a gap in the foliage, highlighting the textures

A single tree but with a myriad of tangled trunks, indicating that this one, growing on top of a wall, was probably trimmed back in height many times originally, but its sheer tenacity has won out over the years.

Clicking on any of the pictures will give you a new full-screen view of the picture that can be zoomed in on, if you like that sort of thing.

4 thoughts on “in praise of hawthorn

Add yours

  1. Oooh I love a hawthorn like no other tree and your description of why is perfect. I’m going to grab some cards of one of these for sure, if you put them in your shop!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’ll be up on there shortly, Sun. I’ve just go to do some full resolution versions of them (yes, for anyone else reading, there’s more detail in the print versions!)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, and often they’re the only trees that can cope at all on the exposed coastal cliffs and high points of the land. They turn up a lot in my photos because that’s the sort of place I am in most often!

      Liked by 1 person

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