Monday, January 15, 2018

Inspirational Trees

Trees are everywhere. They clean our air, break up boring landscapes, soften built-up areas. We take them for granted until they drop their leaves on the rails and disrupt the trains, or are blown down in a hurricane.  But they are very inspirational. Think of the stories that involve trees. Charles II hiding in the oak, myths and legends like Robin Hood taking refuge in the forest, big bad wolves hiding there, a tree lined road that conceals hidden menace. Even forests that are alive, and trees that can move.

I find them very inspirational and many years ago I watched a tv programme that introduced a series of trees, including the Pitchford Lime, an ancient tree with a beautiful treehouse built amongst its branches (there it is, above).  The treehouse wasn't a children's toy but used by adults. My imagination immediately moved towards a story with my heroine using her treehouse as a refuge.  That story turned into one of my all time favourites, Lucasta.

Many people find a walk in the forest relaxing. There is something about trees that can be comforting, to say nothing of the benefits of exercise! On the flip side, think of a forest in winter, bare trees, wind soughing through the branches, or even a wood at night with owls hooting and leaves rustling. Then you have the beginnings of a nightmare.  I recently enjoyed a walk through a nearby forest which was very much like the setting for a Gothic novel, and I came across this beauty.

Immediately I was imagining secret trysts, or a heroine coming upon a strange man resting upon this branch. Is he hero or villain, will he be her downfall or salvation?

What do you think about trees, to they set your imagination running wild, or perhaps you just enjoy walking through them, listening to the birdsong, looking out for squirrels. Maybe you remember building a treehouse?  Do tell!

Melinda Hammond


Elizabeth Bailey said...

Love this. Reminded me instantly of The Highwayman - opening thereof. The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees... so evocative, so atmospheric. I think they can be highly suggestive and used in various ways to enhance a story. And I loved Lucasta!

Melinda Hammond/Sarah Mallory said...

Thank you, Elizabeth. When I was young I always dreamed of owning a treehouse, but our little inner city house did not have room for even small trees. But a girl can dream! And glad you liked Lucasta, I always like sensible heroines, so less energetic and tiring than the "feisty" ones :-)

Elizabeth Hawksley said...

I loved this, Melinda/Sarah. I've always loved trees. When I was a child in the country, there was a wonderful beech tree with a long low branch that stretched out over the beck. You could crawl along it, sit astride and bounce! Magic!

Melinda Hammond/Sarah Mallory said...

What a wonderful memory, Elizabeth H. I grew up in a city, so most of the trees I saw were plane trees, planted at the roadsides by the Victorians. These days I love walking through woods, and trying to identify the different types.

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