I do love trees. I have been in love with a particular tree for almost 6 yrs now. It is of course the horse chestnut tree at the front of our house. Every morning I spy a circular ever-changing snapshot of this beauty through the owl window on the landing. I have often thought it would be nice to share these snapshots with you all and really appreciate the amazing changes this tree goes through in a year.
While they are to be seen all over Ireland the horse chestnut tree is not a native Irish species. Originating in Asia and Eastern Europe they are now considered by many to be naturalised in Ireland as they have been growing here for hundreds of years.
And so here it is in all its January bareness. No leaves, no flowers, no fruit, just a magnificent skeleton. It's mature trunk covered in grey-brown scaly bark. It's branches arching downwards, it's twigs curving gracefully upwards towards the winter sky. Last seasons horse-shoe shaped leaf scars clearly visible and attributing to its name.
"Towering high, majestic and proud
Lining street, avenue and road
Every great bough sweeping down low
Sweeping the ground with a glorious show
Winter sees the big sticky buds swell
Ready to burst like a magical spell
Silhouetted stark against the grey of the sky
The magnificent tree the cold will defy"