Felled Pine ‘Love is strong as death … many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it’ (Songs of Songs 8:6, 7). Who is this coming along the pine trunk, his gaze fixed steadily on mine? His arms outstretched like a Christ on a crucifix, wobbling slightly, he readjusts his balance, his trainers gleaming white against the tree’s rough bark. One foot placed carefully, deliberately, before another, he treads his solitary via while the acer in the distance flares out its monstrance of autumn colours. What is that drifting through the canopy, unfurling between us like a veil? Perfumed with the trees’ last breath of caramel and butterscotch, fragrant with juniper, crabapple and woodsmoke’s tender myrrh. Suddenly he comes running, bursting through the pall in his new green hoody, its hue as fresh and zingy as the first spring buds, his arms swinging out in an embrace that knows no wintry withering or the woodman’s calculated cut. Alison Collins
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