(Guest post by Sara Jackson Johnson – Sara blogs at Sara in Between)
I walk past this image at least once a day in the park at the end of my street . I could take a more direct route through to the tube station, but always find my feet walking me this way. This morning I realised it was time to pen a small note to work out why.
What I see here is intricate and interesting and kind of wrong in the middle of a park full of neat, planned and ordered foliage. It strikes me every day and I have thought more than once about stopping the park keeper to ask how long it has been there? Whether the ivy affects the health of the tree? Is that a stump it’s growing on? Whether they ever think about cutting it down and releasing the tree of its needy interloper? Or which of them actually came first?
But I never do. Not just because I think the park keeper hates me. You see unlike the other gardeners there with whom I have a happy hello-filled acquaintance, he either avoids my eye with no great subtlety or gives me a grudging smile if he absolutely has to…Anyway, I digress….
I don’t ask because I just love it as it is. Love that I don’t really know whether it is a stump covered in ivy, opportunistically grabbing onto a tree that was unfortunate to be standing right next to it. Or that the new tree was planted next to an old thing and they’ve developed a symbiotic need and love for each other. I love that it makes me slow down, often stop, just to look across and down and up to see whether I can see the join. Whether the tree is behaving as it should and marvelling at the sheer tenacity of that ivy.
I even enjoy the comparisons I find and the images it puts in my head; about me, my son, his DNA, what a pretty way to see something uninvited become so very…necessary somehow.
However I mostly love that in this picture, the sun is shining down on them both, as it does on us all. Plain or startling, boring or exciting, healthy or wizened, different or the same. Not how anyone planned it I’m sure, but glorious nonetheless.