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.

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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

Notes from a Tree/08

A different view

A different view

In August, I climbed higher than I had dared before

and earned myself a different view,

including one or two last

shy

magnolia

flowers

hiding

(out of my reach) – whose

siblings lay in petals

scattered on the ground.

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…petals scattered on the ground

Mid-month, the wind blew strongly

enough to make the boughs sway – and me with them.

It was a distinctly

unnerving

experience, and I clung on for

dear life (as did my new friends, the remaining magnolias).

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An unnerving experience

I  wondered what to do with the photographs I had started taking of the people who passed below.  Perhaps I would put them in a gallery called ‘Human Traffic’

– but what of the dogs and occasional wildlife I snapped?  Hmm.  

‘Non-Leopard Sightings’, or

‘Human Traffic (and Other Beasties)’

maybe.  

Divided into two categories:

‘Those Who Did’ and ‘Those Who Didn’t’ (notice me, that is).

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…notice me, that is.

Why is She Up There, Mummy? (part two)

So, the excitement and fear of the (will they/won’t they) proposal letter and its reception over and done with, I settled back into wondering what on earth I was actually doing.  “What’s it all about?” I wondered, not for the first time, in my notebook.  Why, when all the other artists had left (aka moved on), was I still here?

This is what I wrote:-

“It’s about

Belonging vs. Being Out of Place

Being Here v. Wanting to be Somewhere Else

Authenticity v. Disguise

Nature v. Civilisation

Childhood v. Adulthood

Freedom of Expression v. Repression

It’s also about lounging about and having fun!

These are all themes in my life.

It’s also about the frustration of discovering there are some things I really don’t like about myself – but try as I might, I can’t seem to change…”

And we all know what they say about leopards…

Smile for the camera, please!

Smile for the camera, please!

To conclude: there’s a certain amount of stuckness going on in my life (not to be confused with Stuckism, which is something entirely different), and so it seems apt that I should be ‘stuck’ up a tree for a year.

That’s why she’s up there, Mummy.