March 7, 2013
“Bark is a subtle, supple substance, easily overlooked. It can be thought of as the tree’s skin; like skin, it carries the marks of folding and of expansion, a stretching which snaps it into flakes or plates or lenticles. If you were to take slow-motion footage of elm bark over a year, you would be able to see it moving, working, living: crevasses gaping, calluses forming, the constant springing open and closing over of fissures. As Constable knew, a world can reveal itself in a tree’s bark. Lean in close to bark, and you will find a landscape which you might enter, through whose ravines and edges you might take day-long journeys.”
— Robert Macfarlane, The Wild Places
Wouldn’t it be amazing to watch a fast-motion film of bark expanding and contracting over the course of a year? I wonder if anyone has already done so.
Winter is certainly a great time to read bark. It’s so varied and beautiful. Here are some examples from my recent walks: