Spooky Halloween Tree

Since it is a pagan holiday, allow me to begin this post with a quote from that neurotic and paranoid racist, H.P. Lovecraft. He may have been a bit distasteful and loony, but his prose lives on for anyone interested in melodramatic over-the-top writing. This is from the short story “The Colour Out of Space”:

West of Arkham the hills rise wild, and there are valleys with deep woods that no axe has ever cut. There are dark narrow glens where the trees slope fantastically, and where thin brooklets trickle without ever having caught the glint of sunlight. ….

The trees grew too thickly, and their trunks were too big for any healthy New England wood.

Today I drove down a boring stretch of rural gravel road for perhaps the hundredth time. I had written off this stretch of road, which was featureless, bordered on either side by fields of genetically altered corn, now just stubble. As usual while driving along such roads, I let my imagination wander freely.

My attention was caught, though, by an array of Osage orange seed-balls in the road. Must be a hedge tree nearby, I thought. Then I encountered the grand-daddy of all Osage orange trees, probably the oldest and largest representative of the species for many miles around. I pulled over and got out my camera. Conditions weren’t ideal for photography, as the sun was bright in a cloudless sky, but I had to record images of this remarkable tree. This tree was a keeper, and I’ll be back to take better photos, but these are what I have now:

I stuck my billed cap into a snarl of thorny branchlets to give a sense of scale. The cap wasn’t happy:

“Larry, why did you do this! I can’t get out! Please rescue me from these thorny clutches!”

“Just a moment, I’ll be right there after I snap some photos, cap.”

“I just want to be back on your head where I’m safe!”

Why do I always end up with cowardly caps?

Here’s a view of the thoroughly uncivilized upper branches. The tan and furrowed bark seems barely able to contain the orange cambium, which seems to be wanting to escape out into the world and wreak havoc among lesser beings:

I’ll return to this tree, as it seems to offer a variety of photographic opportunities. If I don’t return one of these days the tree will most likely have devoured me, the only evidence being a white cap on the ground and a suspicious bulge in the tree’s trunk!

Larry

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14 Comments

Filed under Photos, Plants, Quincy

14 responses to “Spooky Halloween Tree

  1. Joan

    He pondered well the Osage orange.
    “It’s menacing”, said Larry.
    He did not heed his inner voice.
    He’s sometimes prone to tarry.

    He moved a little closer.
    “Wow! It’s huge! Just look at that!”
    Now all that’s left of Larry
    In the leaves is just his hat.

    Now listen very closely
    Cause the tree may try to squelch
    The rumbling in its tummy
    And a furtive woody belch.

  2. His vorpal sword could not be found
    No frabjous day, callooh, alas!
    The scary tree made not a sound
    As branches grasped his sorry ass.

  3. Joan

    Come to think of it that hat does look more like a butt. Maybe I should revise?

  4. bev

    Wow, now that is a tree! I wondered how large they could grow to be as I watched for Osage Orange on my way through Illinois and Missouri after reading about them here on RR. I saw a few that were fairly large, but nothing like that whopping big tree.
    Nice poem, Joan.
    And yes, the hat does look a bit like a butt in a tree! (-:

  5. I’ll never be able to regard that cap in the same light again… the slang term “butthead” comes to mind!

  6. Darrell

    Larry, have you seen the “Jesus Tree” in the Catholic Cemetery in east Quincy?

  7. No, but I’ve seen photos. I really should go out there and take a look one of these days. Pareidolia is always interesting as a view of certain human perceptual mistakes. We are programmed to see faces!

  8. Joan


    Here’s the best picture I could find. His face is not too clear here.

  9. I tried to follow the image link but got the chilling message “Forbidden”.

  10. Darrell

    Me too. Jesus hides his face from us?

  11. Maybe he’s grown shy lately, getting all neurotic and procrastinating about that Second Coming. “The pressure! Why don’t they just leave me alone and quit putting words in my mouth!”

    He sometimes has dreams of returning to the manger…

  12. Joan

    Boy! That is creepy! Maybe it’s a pay for view Jesus. (grin) Wouldn’t have been the first time. But seriously, all you have to do is go to Google images and type in “Jesus Tree” or Jesus Tree Catholic Cemetery..and there you go. Multiples. Several Web pages but you had to sit through a virtual sermon to see it.

  13. Joan

    http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&hl=en&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=661&q=jesus+tree+quincy+il&gbv=2&oq=Jesus+Tree+&aq=3&aqi=g4g-S6
    Here’s the link to a whole page of them. It worked once like the previous one. We shall see if it still does a couple of hours later.

  14. Darrell

    On closer examination, I think it’s St Peter. The crossed arms and apparent bald head are more petrine?

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