Since it is a pagan holiday, allow me to begin this post with a quote from that neurotic and paranoid racist, H.P. Lovecraft. He may have been a bit distasteful and loony, but his prose lives on for anyone interested in melodramatic over-the-top writing. This is from the short story “The Colour Out of Space”:
West of Arkham the hills rise wild, and there are valleys with deep woods that no axe has ever cut. There are dark narrow glens where the trees slope fantastically, and where thin brooklets trickle without ever having caught the glint of sunlight. ….
The trees grew too thickly, and their trunks were too big for any healthy New England wood.
Today I drove down a boring stretch of rural gravel road for perhaps the hundredth time. I had written off this stretch of road, which was featureless, bordered on either side by fields of genetically altered corn, now just stubble. As usual while driving along such roads, I let my imagination wander freely.
My attention was caught, though, by an array of Osage orange seed-balls in the road. Must be a hedge tree nearby, I thought. Then I encountered the grand-daddy of all Osage orange trees, probably the oldest and largest representative of the species for many miles around. I pulled over and got out my camera. Conditions weren’t ideal for photography, as the sun was bright in a cloudless sky, but I had to record images of this remarkable tree. This tree was a keeper, and I’ll be back to take better photos, but these are what I have now:
I stuck my billed cap into a snarl of thorny branchlets to give a sense of scale. The cap wasn’t happy:
“Larry, why did you do this! I can’t get out! Please rescue me from these thorny clutches!”
“Just a moment, I’ll be right there after I snap some photos, cap.”
“I just want to be back on your head where I’m safe!”
Why do I always end up with cowardly caps?
Here’s a view of the thoroughly uncivilized upper branches. The tan and furrowed bark seems barely able to contain the orange cambium, which seems to be wanting to escape out into the world and wreak havoc among lesser beings:
I’ll return to this tree, as it seems to offer a variety of photographic opportunities. If I don’t return one of these days the tree will most likely have devoured me, the only evidence being a white cap on the ground and a suspicious bulge in the tree’s trunk!