… debates at beech tree junction …

From my desk I see the crowns of a few massive beech trees on the hill beyond my garden. Come autumn, tons of leaves used to smother my mossy lawn until, thankfully, the branches were cut back last year. Wood pigeons value the majestic view across town from up there, as much as they like gobbling up my Stella cherries before I ever have the slightest chance of harvesting them. And yet, I like the pigeons’ cooing code by which they talk to each other in spring, and I find their peculiar waddling, neck-pushing walk in search of worms amusing. Presently the bare branches of the beeches show the pigeons’ constellation throughout the day, bringing on some thoughts … and a Haiku.

at beech tree junction

each morning the ruler lands

sometimes with a mate

later the pigeons gather

and debate migrants

they conclude – not our problem

skies are border-less

Re: migrants, given the human longing for belonging, it is the brave feat of ‘exits,’ people who leave their birth land for whatever reason, which expands tolerance, as well as emotional and intellectual independence from the collective pull towards loyalty for any one group or ideology.

Recently I came upon this quote by Italo Calvino, which resonates:

‘The ideal place for me is the one in which it is most natural to live as a foreigner.’ – Italo Calvino               


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16 responses to “… debates at beech tree junction …

  1. there is family debate regarding pigeons. The Hubby is not so keen, thinks they are ridiculous and insists there is a tether between the head and feet which makes them nod as they pace. I am in the other camp and find the understated beauty of their feathers lovely. Great images. We have, unfortunately been so influenced by Game of Thrones that now if we hear a Corvus the immediate response is ‘don’t listen, they’re all liars.’ Poor things I wonder if they hold a grudge against George for the bad press. Dark wings, Dark news and all that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Diane. He, he. Your hubby has a point, though I find the nodding walk of pigeons amusing. They make me smile.
      The mannerisms of our species is equally ridiculous.
      Crows, it depends of our projection, I guess. I find them fascinating. They are also very intelligent, or maybe clever is the word..
      I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, not been watching TV for years, nor Netflix, though I intend to find an opportunity to watch the series at a time when I’m totally bored with the world.


      • We didn’t think we would like GOT as we don’t really watch fantasy and the only fantasy writer I have ever loved and l love him dearly is the late great Terry Prattchet but we were drawn in by the clever politics and the relationships between the characters (while they lived!). I would freely admit that the acting is not always stellar! but hey there are dragons!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Read John Crowley’s magnificent ‘Ka; Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr’ as a restorative for George M… certainly one of the most exquisite and beautifully crafted books i’ve read in a very long time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As a longtime wanderer and self-exile, my only and immediate response to “…given the human longing for belonging, it is the brave feat of ‘exits,’ people who leave their birth land for whatever reason, which expands tolerance, as well as emotional and intellectual independence from the collective pull towards loyalty for any one group or ideology…” is yes (read YESSS), precisely.


    • Thanks. Must look up ‘Ka.’
      Here my favourite quote about this binding between the living and the dead … or, in other words, crows (humans) die, but crow (humanity) never dies.
      Long live the dead because we live in them.”
      ― Clarice Lispector – A Breath of Life


  3. Hello Ashen and welcome to the new year.
    As Australians, many of us are indeed immigrants to this wonderful nation. The saving grace for many of us lies within the acceptance of a common language, in English. Though many other languages exist they are not necessarily nurtured and sadly many indigenous languages are being lost.
    Our own family have recently experienced the introduction of a non-English speaking young family for which we are truly grateful. Once the hurdle of language is overcome, it is a humbling experience to realise the depth of knowledge and culture within other groups given our own lack of exposure here.
    Cheers B

    Liked by 1 person

    • May good things come in the new year, B, especially more dialogue and less polarisation the world over. It’s remarkable how colonisation has spread the English language, in conjunction with printing and then the internet. For me it was the language connecting different nationalities of students in Munich. And, as you point out, it is sad that the rich cultures so many other languages hold is lost in the process. In England, especially, few are encouraged to acquire a second language. And now, with the Brexit circus, some rude nationalists pick on the dialect of English speakers and tell then to go home.


  4. Rob

    Beautiful pictures Ashen, as always.
    As you know, I’m very much looking forward to going and staying with my Zulu friends in South Africa quite soon and spending time in the bush with them after an absence of nearly 6 years. I am sure I will, as I always have done, breathe more freely when I am there. Partly it’s getting away from the suffocation of the familiar but I think the clincher is that I will be with a family which still nurtures the traditional Zulu spirituality in which the natural world plays such a major part, in fact it is practically synonymous with the spirit world. This is the oxygen I crave.
    My main Zulu friend, Siphiwe, who is a professional bush guide, experiences a similar sense of nausea and suffocation in the shopping mall and city centre as I. It’s the almost total lack of reference to anything outside the man-made which does it I’m certain.
    We need a sense of the infinite to feel well and human and no matter how vast and impressive the beautiful mosque, cathedral or temple, it doesn’t come any where close to that sacred sense as a stand of trees on a wind-ravaged hill side, with the crows cawing and the pidgeons cooing.
    Akubusise (blessings) Ashen

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We’ve recently moved to a top-floor flat that’s practically a dovecote. We have dozens of pigeons strutting up and down the railings of our balconies, performing their ring-around dances, beak wrestling, and cooing. Lots of cooing. We can hear them first thing in the morning and last thing at night, on the roof above us. I can hear them even et 2.30 a.m. if I wake up in the night. Such a cosy sound. I love it. Our balconies, of course, are covered in pigeon poo, so it’s a relief when it rains.

    I love your post, by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, dear Katia. Lucky you. Short of a garden, a balcony must be bliss (with less work than a garden.) We can’t help growing fond of the peculiarities of regular winged visitors. I regularly have a friendly chat with them, and when I do they look at me 🙂 nodding.


  6. elainemansfield

    I love the haiku and the pigeon’s reflections on migrants. I love seeing them in winter beech trees. I have a few old beech trees in my forest, but they’re diseased (another invasive bug) in the northeast forest and the younger ones don’t live long enough to grow those magnificent branches. Fortunately the hickories and oaks are holding strong.
    I also love the pigeons when they arrive in early spring with their waddle as they peck under the bird feeder for what’s left behind by messy eaters.
    Finally, your ending quote is spectacular and wise. To live in a place of true tolerance is a gift.


    • Welcome, Elaine, and thank you. I’m pleased you like the post. So sad that your beeches suffer. We have the trouble in England with Elms disease, another magnificent tree species that is endangered.
      The quote by Italo Calvino, whose writing I find stimulating, is striking. To be allowed into a community as a foreigner enriches both, the foreigner and the community.
      Seems I’ve finally managed to leave a comment on your site. I intend to share your latest post with a friend who struggles with hearing.
      I hope all turns out well with the implant.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I see your pigeons, and offer you my blackbirds, which i both love to hear and watch, and who devour the few strawberries I grow, even through the netting.

    Liked by 1 person

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