Field Notes #1

October 8, 2015. 02:46 PM


As usual in Carlisle, the sound of tires rolling on asphalt and the low rumble of engines provides a background noise to the goings on of the day. The High Street commotion is in full effect. Ash sits still, poised in his usual stance among the grassy field. At his base lay thousands upon thousands of faded, shriveled leaves. Most of these leaves, based on their texture and shape, used to belong to Ash’s branches up above. His leaves have a signature look about them with there elliptical, almost football shaped nature. However, there are a few outliers in the pack. Oak leaves, larger than my palm, lie scattered and camouflaged among the sea of Ash’s lost foliage.


I pick up one of the oak leaves beneath my foot. It’s about seven inches long with three sharp points on both sides, and one at the top, like the star on a Christmas tree. It has a darker hue of orange than most of the other leaves; one might call it mahogany. The stem weaves up through the leaf branching off at various levels and continuing to do so exponentially. The series of stems appear to be the veins of the leaf and in between are the crackly cells that create the skin.


Looking up at Ash, his loss of leaves becomes clear as I notice more branches than I did on the previous visit. The thick green leaf cover is beginning to thin into a yellowish net full of holes and tears. The breeze, as faint as it may be, causes the individual leaves to shake too and fro. They wobble together and as one they are like light shimmering on a body of water. They also resemble a school of fish weaving in and out of each other, because each leaf’s wobble is unique but at the same time blends into the unit as a whole.


Ash’s bark, unchanged from the autumn shift is more visible today. The ridges that his breed are so well known for on the exterior are like a mesh that tightly wraps around his body. From my viewpoint (about 15 feet away), there appear to be diamonds that intertwine as they cloak the trunk, getting smaller and smaller the farther they go up the tree.

The clouds are thick today, and there are only a few moments where ash experiences a blissful bit of sunshine. Patches of blue in the sky appear every so often, but for the most part there are just thick, grey clumps traveling across the sky. To my right, the steeple on Alison hall seems to pierce the sky and it surprises me that it does not tear a hole right through those dreary clumps. Despite the weather, Ash stands still as ever, in his usual spot. He lets his leaves drop one by one like a leaky faucet and awaits the bitter cold winter that will soon be upon him.

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