Notes from a Tree/13

From my notes: September 10, 2013.

A family out for a stroll, the day before the elderly lady’s 85th birthday.

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out for a stroll

At 84, going on 85, I don’t suppose you take any prisoners.

When I told her, in answer to her query, that I was a leopard, she said,

“Well, you’re not a very good one.”

I flinched silently, and made my apologies.

She took some photographs of me, anyway – the Not Very Good Leopard – on her compact camera.

Henceforth, I rename my blog:-

Not a Very Good Leopard in Didsbury

The taller man in the middle of the photo came to the rescue, prompting his mother(?) to tell me how, when she was a little girl of eight years old, the circus came to town.  She had watched excitedly as an elephant was led off the train at East Didsbury and down the ramp to the main road.

I have searched on the internet, but was unable to find an image of that remarkable sight.  I wish I had seen it.

Here, instead, is a picture of a circus elephant for you to colour in.

elephant_act

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Notes from a Tree/12

A bud in September (a budding September,

two-thousand and thirteen) –

delicate, yet sturdy

soft, green and furry

tempting

inquisitive

fingertips:

“Touch me.”

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The tree

– like the whole garden –

is a riot of vigorous green

like an orchestra

boisterous

clamouring

bursting towards my camera

willing me to capture it.

I try to.

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a riot of vigorous green

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boisterous, clamouring…

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bursting towards my camera

 

I am obsessed with this tree

obsessed with the shapes of its branches

which I photograph from every angle.

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the shapes of its branches

And the spaces in between its dancer’s gesturing arms

draw me

like Alice’s looking-glass.

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The spaces in between its arms

A Leopard in Love

On Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013, I had a busy time in the tree, watching people, taking photographs, making notes, having Deep Thoughts.

When I climbed down onto the lawn, I sat on the grass for a moment to lick my paws, turned around and – Oh!

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I turned around and – Oh!

I think I’m in love.

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I think I’m in love

Notes from a Tree/11

On the third of September last year, I found bird poo on my favourite branch of the magnolia tree.  I wondered who had dared to soil my perch: a magpie? One of the parakeets I’d heard cheeping their way across the sky the day before? Probably a pigeon, by the size of it.  I dabbed at it disgustedly with a tissue, before lying on it.  

Probably a pigeon

Probably a pigeon

Later, I sat in a fork of the tree, watching children cartwheeling and taking faltering, upside-down steps on their hands across a patch of lawn not far from me.

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I sat in a fork of the tree…

When they ran off, disappearing from view, I heard them calling to one another as they climbed the crooked and bent old laburnum. I growled loudly to deter them, but they didn’t hear me.  I need to practise my growling.

 

Notes from a Tree/10

In the absence of my leopard-self, I return to typing up notes from my sketch book:-

On the third of September

from up in my tree

I spied on a woman in a blue jacket reading my sign.

“Hello!” I called, as leopards are wont to do, in these parts.

She looked up,

spotted me through the leaves

and apologised to me several times.

I didn’t know what for.

So I took a photo of her.

Later, I treated it with a watercolour filter in Photoshop

to conceal her identity –

and then another one called ‘Paint Daubs’ –

because I felt as if I wanted to protect her.

Not that I know much about filters in Photoshop.

Nor protecting people, for that matter.

Being a leopard, and all.

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I felt as if I wanted to protect her

Still AWOL

I had been asked not to use any pins, so on January 28th I dragged myself to Parsonage Gardens to tie my Missing poster to the magnolia tree.  It had taken me all day to get there from ten minutes’ walk away (sometimes the shortest journeys take the longest time), and dusk had fallen.

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The Missing poster at dusk (1)

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The Missing poster at dusk (2)

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The Missing poster at dusk (3)

I took some pictures on my phone of the buds against the darkening sky,

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The buds against the darkening sky (1)

… and a final cartoon shot, before leaving.

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The buds against the darkening sky (2)

Two days later I returned, to see what it looked like in daylight.

in daylight

What it looks like in daylight

buds, buds, glorious buds...

Buds, buds, glorious buds…

AWOL

I went down to Parsonage Gardens today to put up a new sign.  The Magnolia tree reminded me of our Christmas tree, once it had been stripped of all its decorations.  It looked kind of skinny, naked and shivery in the cold.  I wanted to throw a big jacket over its shoulders.  A very very large jacket.

I’ve never seen a jacket that large, actually.

Someone had taken down my previous sign.  Either that, or it had smudged, parted company with itself, perhaps even totally dissolved in the wind and the rain that has shaken and lashed this island in recent times.

I hadn’t been in touch since before Xmas, and wondered if I had been struck off the Old Parsonage’s agenda.

Moribund, I stepped closer to the tree, looking for a suitable site for my new offering – and was instantly cheered to see a determined cluster of snowdrops at its base.

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a determined cluster of snowdrops

Hope springs eternal, then.  Good.

As I gazed up at the tree’s higher reaches, its bony fingers reaching for the sky of bright, cold blue, I spotted the Mystery Shoe.  I haven’t written about that yet.  See if you can spot it.

the Mystery Shoe(i)

In case you can’t, here’s a clue…

Mystery Shoe

the Mystery Shoe (ii)

And here’s a close up.

the Mystery Shoe (detail)

the Mystery Shoe (detail)

More about that later.

I wanted to pin (ouch! -sorry) my new sign to the tree, because that’s what one does with Missing Pussycat signs.  But something told me I should seek permission first, so I did, and I haven’t been granted it yet, so watch this space, because I’m going back tomorrow.

And this is my Missing Pussycat sign.

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That should do it.

Notes from a Tree/09

December it may be

But I still have some catching up to do.

All summer long, my beloved Jolly accompanied to the gardens, and waited – down on the ground – while I did my stint as a leopard in a tree.

I’d get up when I felt like it, have breakfast, take a shower, get dressed. We’d walk to the Parsonage the long way round, along the river.  The sun shone.  A bag swung from my hand.  Inside was some food for me, some food for Jolly, a plastic bowl to put water in for him, and my leopard onesie.  I thought, “This is the life.”

My beloved Jolly

My beloved Jolly