13 July 2016

A Family Disaster - or, The Tale of a Tree

The Old Road - original oil painting by Elizabeth Barsham
28 cm x 35.5cm; oil on canvas. 2010
So we had that super storm last night, strong winds and snow and everything and a family disaster. Another stalwart, so familiar that I and my mother before me assumed it would endure forever, is gone. On a global scale this is a very minor event, but for our family it is the end of an era. 

Here is a photograph taken from our front gate in the early 1920s. I liked it so much, I based the painting above  on it.

My mother took this one, from inside the gate, in 1942.
She was actually photographing the gates, which were about to be replaced.
It appears to be the fate of trees to appear only as background, as an incidental inclusion in a photograph of something else.

In 2010 we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the construction of our house and I took some more photographs, trying without great success to get similar vantage points to the earlier pictures. The surroundings have changed somewhat, but the trees are still there.

Here they are by moonlight last year.

The logs in the foreground are a feral pine tree we cut down some years ago. I keep them there because I like the shape.

And another one from last year; once more, The Tree is incidental background for a picture of something else - the decaying pine.

Which brings us to today. Our bastion of strength reduced to firewood. The bush around me is strewn with ancient trees rotted and fallen, slowly decaying back into the ground. But this one – and its mate – were special. Goodbye, old friend.