Wednesday, January 03, 2007

inosculation/walk with me wed

these maples stand on either side of the old garage. I don't know how old they are.

this morning, they still stood together, although one of them has been dead since the summer. By this afternoon, it looked like this...

There was a 4 foot piece of rebar inside the trunk at one point. It could not be cut down into firewood. Thank goodness it didn't harm anyone while the tree was being cut down.

I kept thinking about this today when I went for my walk. And it seemed that I noticed other trees that had bits and pieces of things still visibly embedded in them. If you ever have the pleasure of talking to a sawyer, you should ask him what is the most unusual foreign object he has ever hit with his saw.

Most answers are understandable...barbed wire, nails, electrical insulators. But there are some strange ones too...including a cow skeleton, coke bottles, automotive parts... an anvil, and old rifles and old lead musket balls.

My neighbor told me a story about a fellow who left a hunting knife stuck onto a tree, and then went into the army. When he came home, the tree had grown around the blade and a portion of the handle.

I also like hearing about finding other saws, or garden equipment like shovels, or even chains that have become part of the tree. Can't you just picture someone leaning or hanging their tool up against the tree, and then, life just happens, and the tool gets forgotten, and the tree grows around it.

Inosculation. The object becomes one with the tree. Slowly, quietly, until it just disappears. I would love to see time lapse photography of it happening.

19 comments:

Kathy said...

Inosculation--what a cool word!

Pat K said...

I never heard that term before. A very interesting post. See, you learn something new every day.

cyndy said...

I'm not sure if I used the word correctly...usually it refers to "grafting" trees...I don't know if it would apply to a tree growing around an inanimate or non- living object....but it was the closest word I could think of to explain the process ;-)

Marcy said...

Great word! According to Webster it means to join or unite. Works for me!

And "osculate" means to kiss. :D

If you talk to surveyors about this, they'll tell you they often have to look high up in trees to find traces of old wire fences that have been inosculated and grown tall with the trees.

Sawadu said...

At the Shaker museum where I work we have several old sugar maples with rusty old sugar buckets still hanging on them...and sure enough they are slowly being consumed by the trees! I always wonder what happened to the person in charge of sugaring and clean up that year...Love your blog!
Sarah

Anne said...

There's an interesting seacoast plant (a grass) that actually moves - sends out runners - to encapsulate bird's nests in the sand. It encases the eggs and uses the protein from them as a nutrient source. That article has stuck in my mind - and now your comment about cow skeletons found in trees has my mind whirling this morning.

debey said...

my kids had a ''fort'' in a big, old rotten boxelder tree...when we cut the tree down, we found a set of drill bits(6years in the missing tools list), 2 rolls of electrical tape, a roll of duct tape, and several yards of electric fence wire.......

Anonymous said...

THe previous owner of our house left a suet feeder behind, hanging in one of the Japanese Maples. It is now a permanent part of the tree, as the hook and about an inch of the chain are embedded. Cool post.

Judy said...

With the maples gone you are going to have to re-think your whole garden. Think of all the extra sunlight you will get! Have you opened a seed catalog yet?

Anonymous said...

Great post! Trees, well, all plant life actually, are absolutely fascinating. I've seen lots of barbed wire in wood before, but not any of the other things. Good stuff!

Brigid said...

That's really fascinating. I wonder if the metal shortened that tree's life in comparison with its neighbour?

Cathy said...

I took photos of a number of trees at the MO farm that had grown around wood fence posts (bois d arc). I knew when the fences were built (1900 - 1912) which gave me an idea how old the trees were. At the old house, one of the elms had grown around a hose hanger. That was amusing to see.

Louise said...

Cyndy

While camping we found a handmade horseshoe and nail grown in a tree that had fallen. It took us quite a while to chip it out but it now hangs in my kitchen - a memory of the old days.

pablo said...

Now that was interesting!

Heather in Beautiful British Columbia said...

Fabulous photos, thanks for sharing! I'm here via the Festival - and so happy to learn a new word - now if I can just remember it...

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I'm here from the festival, too... What a lovely post. My husband once worked for a mill in Lithuania, he said they were always finding bullets (from ww2) in the trees.

Salix Tree said...

Around our area, there are a lot of hedgerows containing trees and shrubs. One hedgerow has a brass bed headboard embedded in the trees. And in another hedgerow there is a rusty old bicycle being swallowed up by a tree. The trees seem to have captured these things and eaten them up!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I've seen this type of thing sometimes but I didn't know the word for it. Interesting post and photos.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Excellent!!! And what a great word :-)

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