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  1. alpacinoutd

    alpacinoutd Active Member

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    words to describe this tree

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by alpacinoutd, Apr 21, 2020.

    Hello everyone,

    As a writing practice, I have decided to describe this tree:



    I thought that maybe I could use the verb "rear up" here. What do you think?

    The tree rears up in all lushness, all glory.

    I thought I mention its age.

    It has seen it all. It has been standing here for hundreds of years. For hundreds of years, birds have been flitting on its topmost and low-hanging branches.

    Do you think I can say the tree is "world-weary" because it has seen it all?

    And then I thought I use the word "stoic" to suggest it has stoically tolerated all the forces of mother nature (wind, rain, snow, storm).

    What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
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  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Hm... Rear up? Not for me, no. I see something very different.

    She's been around long enough to remember when the people spoke differently, lilted their words in another way. Clandestine lovers have sought her shade and her unquestionable confidence across the decades. The secrets she holds are as many as the leaves on her branches and those that carpet the dusty soil where she reclines into the landscape, her bones creaking, her face turned to the sun. We dance across the fields, our lives tiny and swift as starlings, where hers is immense and as slow as mountains.
     
  3. alpacinoutd

    alpacinoutd Active Member

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    Damnnnnnnn! :superagree:
     
  4. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    You seem to be making an awful lot of these 'describe it for me' posts. I do hope you're learning from them rather than just carbon copying the examples you like.
     
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  5. alpacinoutd

    alpacinoutd Active Member

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    Of course! I'm here to learn. And I have made tangible progress since I joined this wonderful forum.
     
  6. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    Trees don't rear as a rule. And this one looks actually rather squat.
    Please don't use the word 'gnarled'. Stoic and world-weary both work - or just weary. Olive trees can live a couple of thousand years; this one looks past its first few hundred. Depending on where it grows, you could mention some of the historical events it may have witnessed. Garibaldi may have leaned up against its trunk to take his midday cheese and wine; in its saplinghood, it may have watched Julius Caesar's troops march off to conquer Britain.
    Of course, how you describe landmarks must depend on the POV of the character and how they figure in his story.
     
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  7. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Birds have been, not birds has been.

    What strikes me powerfully is the massive thickness of the trunk, like a barrel. Also what seems to be a tunnel running straight through the roots. Since there's nothing included to indicate the scale, I wondered for a moment if it's like one of those giant redwoods and people drive through the tunnel—there's something inside it that could be a tiny human figure. But when I look up at the tree itself there's no way it's that big, just an illusion.
     
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  8. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    A body positive Ent.
     
  9. alpacinoutd

    alpacinoutd Active Member

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    Thanks. Good tips! But I don't seem to recall mentioning or using "gnarled"!:superthink:

    I would assume it's a tired, cliched word that authors tend to indiscriminately use to describe trees.
     
  10. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    I know. Just forewarning, since it certainly is gnarled and would be too obvious. I assume the reader doesn't see the illustration and relies entirely on what you say in words. Knowing what kind of tree it is helps in imagining its history and geography.
     
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  11. Aaron Smith

    Aaron Smith Banned Contributor

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    Looks like a mad wizard conjuring up black magic to me.
     
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  12. Thorn Cylenchar

    Thorn Cylenchar Senior Member

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    For more than two score decades she had watched over the rolling hills and valleys with calm patience. The changing seasons were a blink of the eye to her and she marveled at the brevity of the small, noisy creatures that walked, crawled, scampered, hopped, climbed and swooped among her branches. The wind, sun and rain where her companions, visiting to quench her thirst and feed her hunger, tickling her leaves and wrapping themselves around her old, twisted limbs like a dear friend. But she was getting old and she knew it, her branches had lost the smooth suppleness of youth and ascended slowly to ponderous immobility under the thick armor of the ages. But, she was satisfied, her children, and children's great great grand children clustered around her feet and spread out to the surrounding dells, providing homes and food for an innumerable number of the noisy creatures that seemed to rush headlong from birth through life before she was even really aware of them.
     
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  13. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    See...'rearing up'...with claws...

    upload_2020-4-22_17-31-14.jpeg

    'But then, you are only a baby tree,' said Wizzle the greatest and most ancient tree of Geriatomia.
     
  14. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I really like that last sentence ...about how creatures live their lives before she's aware of them. Kind of like how we view insects, isn't it?
     
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  15. Thorn Cylenchar

    Thorn Cylenchar Senior Member

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    It's all a matter of scale.
     
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  16. alpacinoutd

    alpacinoutd Active Member

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    I also like how it implies a sort of interconnectedness in nature between creatures but at the same time I get the feeling from your writing that the tree "is not" aloof and reluctant or apathetic. Well done!

    If I were to go in a different direction, could I ascribe "aloofness" and "apathy" to a tree?

    Like the tree does not care about any of the infinitesimal noisy creatures flitting in among her branches.

    What do you guys think?
     
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  17. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    Aloofness, indifference, certainly. In fact, there is no law says you have to ascribe consciousness of any kind to plant-life. You're free to describe it as thing, a landmark, shelter, a point for triangulation, a possession or asset, potential firewood as it's no longer producing fruit.
    Apathy, OTH, is a by-product of emotion: it once cared, but no longer does.
    ETA
    Interesting article: https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-secret-life-of-trees-the-astonishing-science-of-what-trees-feel-and-how-they-communicate?utm_source=pocket-newtab
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
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  18. Thorn Cylenchar

    Thorn Cylenchar Senior Member

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    I would say it could be aloof or apathetic, but not both, and one could become the other over time.

    I think aloofness works, in part because a tree cannot directly interact with the creatures and world around them. They animals can reach out and touch a tree, the tree cannot reach out of it's own volition and touch an animal, it takes an outside force like wind to push the tree limbs, or the tree limb breaking off from old age or damage(at which point it's not really part of the tree). The other part of aloofness is, like in the description of the tree, the time frame. Well some trees, like peaches are short lived(15 yrs or so), others can live much longer, with the oldest know tree being a Bristelcone Pine estimated at over 5000(no, that is NOT a typo) years old. At that point, a human who lives to be 100 hasn't even hit 2% of the trees life.

    Apathy, like Oxymaroon stated, implies a change, from caring, to not caring. That could be possible, but I would say more for when the tree is younger, not the staid old age, because it could first be fascinated by the doings around it, but after seeing so many creatures come and go, it would grow to be indifferent. Not even due to intent, but when you start living that long, time becomes a relative measurement.
     
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  19. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    The thing is, as scientists study plants, they find that they are anything but apathetic or aloof. They react—sometimes quite strongly—when things happen. They can also communicate with one another, apparently, via root systems, etc. They react to things like voices and music. They can 'follow' the sun. It's an interesting concept.

    It's funny that we get so interested in describing 'alien' life, as it might appear on other planets, but we don't pay a lot of attention to the alien life that lives here, with us already.

    Near to where I live there is a grove of trees that are similar in age to this one in your photo. The Cadzow Oaks. When I first saw them, my jaw hit the ground. I had never seen any living thing that was so OLD. I was fascinated and drawn to them. They were, apparently, alive when Robert the Bruce was fighting for Scotland. Our lives have flickered past them like a sped-up film, and they have stood there all that time. They had been pollarded in their youth, and their branches used for making charcoal nearby. Which might, oddly, have contributed to their longevity. They are short and squat, meaning they wouldn't be as likely to suffer wind damage, like taller trees do. These old, stubborn oaks are like a small city, with all sorts of other plants attached to them ...fungus, moss, seedlings, etc. Touching them was really strange. They did feel alive to me. Fortunately they are so old that nobody would ever dream of cutting them down ...they are protected now—to the extent that even fungus gets removed from them to keep them from getting damaged. But it does make me think about other trees that are not so old or so lucky. What are their lives like? Who cares for them? Who do they protect? Who do they nourish? I hate seeing trees getting cut down, unless they are actually dead.
    oaks.png
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2020
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  20. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    One nice thing about squat trees is they aren't going to fall on your house. I had about a hundred footer in my back yard fall a few years ago when it was just short of tornado conditions outside, it hit the ground so hard it sounded like a massive explosion and felt like an earthquake. Luckily it fell across the yard diagonally and not right toward the house or there wouldn't be a house anymore. It just slapped the corner of the roof and dented the gutter a bit. I had to buy a chain saw and spend a year and a half cutting it up and chopping it into firewood. I got really freaked out for a while about big trees close to people's houses, and since then I've seen a few houses that got partially demolished that way in the neighborhood. A few people died that way, some in their beds, and there are houses still partially covered by big blue tarps they put on to keep the weather out until they can fix the damage. In fact, knowing that now, I can look at the overhead view in Google Maps and see those blue tarps on houses scattered all over the city.
     
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  21. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Al, I hope you forgive me for posting these on your thread.

    Here's the corner of my roof.
    [​IMG]

    ... And here's the craziest thing—it fell right between the table and the tiki torch without damaging either one:
    [​IMG]

    This is from the cutting-up process. I'd describe it as a fallen dinosaur being dismantled:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2020
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  22. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, falling trees are very dangerous. It often comes from people planting cute little trees too near the house in the first place. Fifty years later ...yoiks.

    Stupidest thing I've seen recently is somebody who planted a monkey puzzle tree a couple of inches from the pavement and their driveway, just inside their wee fence. Cute, eh? The tree was only about two feet high. Holy shit....

    Kinda like people buying cute little baby monitor lizards or alligators for pets. A few years later ...woopsie....
     
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  23. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    That first pic looks like a bonsai tree writ large. I know that might seem like it doesn't make sense, but the true bonsai artists can, over the years, induce all sorts of odd proportions in their charges that would never occur in full-scale trees.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  24. alpacinoutd

    alpacinoutd Active Member

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    Thanks for the pictures folks. You all live in beautiful leafy places!

    Do you think drawing a comparison between a tree and a woman might work? And likening her leaves to hair falling down her shoulders?:superthink:
     
  25. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    If you can write it, it can work. Some people like Yeats and some prefer Charles Bukowski, but they've got very little in common.
     
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