Deep in the dense growth of a commercial forest there is a very old tree, half dead but still growing. Its trunk is about 2 metres across at the base.
It has stood for at least 150 years as it is marked on maps of a 19th Century hunting lodge. It must have been big even then, because someone nailed a horseshoe into it.
When the forestry was planted 30-odd years ago and the other old trees removed, this one was left alone.
The horseshoe is upturned, leaking out all it's good luck.
Its life is halved.
One side of the trunk looks like it has been wrenched down with enormous force, and reveals a blackened interior where fungus has made a home. The base is a soft, unearthly black.
The living half reaches up longingly at the sky, outgrowing its young neighbours. It seeks out the blinding crepuscular rays.
The whole tree is so densely surrounded that it is near impossible to photograph, always obscured as if it had planned for its own privacy.
There is a confounding contradiction.
What initially looks dead is not so simply lifeless. Even in its blackest spaces, shoots of green, white and orange life emerge.
The well worn branches are landscapes of activity. The crevices of its wounds are home to a multitude of fungi, insects and lichen. There is more slow movement in those mosses than in all of the living tree. A world of life comes from this death.
The tree wears an expression that is impossible not to anthropomorphise. A silent bawling roar is trapped in that long face.
Look again and maybe that is the face of power, of something between worlds, not suffering but holding silent reverence.
In Irish folklore, our world is the 'ceantar', the physical place. The 'alltar' is the other realm. There are those nonhumans that occupy both spaces. They move freely like four-dimensional organisms prodding at three-dimensional space.
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