Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring sallow: life and death

Yesterday for the first time the sallow tree (Salix cinerea) that was spotted as a tiny seedling in the Square Metre in September 2004 has catkins showing that it is a female plant.

20120321 (9) Metre Salix cinerea

A good thing to encounter on the first day of spring.

At the other end of the spectrum I noticed the intricate geometry of a decaying log on the edge of Medlar Wood.  It was put on the ground as a neatly sawn cylinder a few years ago, but now the ravages of time have worn it into intricate shapes.

20120321 (4) Metre log 

It reminded me of that immortal passage from Shakespeare's Tempest:

And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea all which it inherit, shall dissolve                 

And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Non-Euclidian Nature

Robert Pirsig in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance wrote "Weeds and grass and wildflowers grow where the concrete has cracked and broken.  Neat, square, upright lines acquire a random sag.  The uniform masses of the unbroken color of fresh paint modify to a mottled, weathered softness.  Nature has a non-Euclidian geometry of her own that seems to soften the deliberate objectivity of these buildings with a kind of random spontaneity that architects would do well to study."

20120225 Metre grass b

Though Emthree is not part of the built environment, these non-Euclidian manifestations seem to me to be all too apparent in the 'weathered softness' of late winter.  These shapes, reminders of summer, have a past and a future.   The picture above is of tangled grasses, that below of cut, or bitten, bramble stems.

20120225 Metre cut bramble b

As spring advances and things grow upright, the spirit of Euclid will, to some extent, return.