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Wayfarers' Tree

She scrambles over rocks to where a solitary rowan survives – a rowan, shaped by the wind, spindly, struggling. She runs her hand down its smooth silvery bark, ties red thread to its branches and, between arriving and leaving, stops for a moment. The rowan doesn’t see the mist, the fells covered in gauze, hear the skylark piercing the silence, smell the honey fragrance of bog star. It cannot name hawthorn, sundew, curlew, wheatear, discuss time, the seasons. It cannot see itself, compare itself to other rowans, know how it struggles.


But it doesn’t question its existence, judge the woman leaning against its trunk. And the woman is listening, listening as the rowan whispers its secrets.

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