Friday, 1 June 2007

The Magic Faraway Tree

Noddy never really did it for me, even though I read all the books with pleasure. But when Enid Blyton turned her hand to The Magic Faraway Tree, something clicked. There was a whole different world to be had in exchange for a simple turning of pages. Massive, ancient and gnarled trees hold many mysteries and myths. The true veterans suggest pre-history. When you lean your back or place your hand against a huge tree trunk your mind tricks you into sensing it has knowledge and awareness. As a child growing up in a London suburb with a few fruit trees of no special merit in a rectangular garden, I longed for a magic faraway tree of my own set in a meandering, untamed patch of land. Me and a thousand others.
At the far end of the farm, perched on the very precipice of the steep river bank is an ancient oak. It is entirely hollow, so dendrochronology would be a wasted exercise. The base of the tree is scalloped - foxes and badgers can easily pass through to shelter in the core of the tree. The trunk is wrapped in fist-thick veiny cords of ivy. A rowan grows up through the middle of the tree, giving the oak a crown of orange berries at the end of summer; the tree no longer has a crown of its own. And yet, it is still living, producing leaves and acorns, sheltering insects, birds and mammals, providing a rubbing post for sheep and reminding me that its lifespan far, far exceeds that of any human Methuselah.

5 comments:

lady macleod said...

wonderful description. I too am a lover of trees.

mutterings and meanderings said...

It sounds like a pretty magical tree, what with its rowan crown...

mountainear said...

I wonder what has happened under its boughs during its lifetime. I bet there are some stories to tell.

Mopsa said...

I've measured the tree - 17 foot circumference equates to something over 300 years old...

SSQuo said...

The Magic Faraway Tree has a spot on my bookshelf, and I know it will stay there forever. It one of childhood and adult favorites, and I even pick it as I think it taught me way more than 'magic' if only you choose to look.