The Oldest Tree in Edinburgh

July 21, 2012

The city wends its way from Saturday morning neighborhoods under crayon blue skies and clouds. Row houses stand guard with their uniformity in structure, with personality and uniqueness shyly sneaking out, posing as a red door, blue door, snare drum for potted flora, intricate stick configuration in a tree. Park tree leaves swaying, children swinging.  Down increasingly busier streets layered in the architectures of time. Slate of old melds into quick construction of new. Churches anchor geographic blocks, stake claim to quadrants of spirit and place. Trees tucked in, filling the negative spaces between street and bridge, bridge and steps, sidewalk and wall. The busiest streets scream butcher, pharmacy, tailor, barber, bar. In the bakery window, a reflection of it all. Human landscape. Hard, worn smooth.

Fashion, bridges, flags and feathers, commemorative benches, ballet studios, charity shops, trash, prams, the smells of it all.  Movement, it is the heartbeat of the city.

Pass through this juncture; two bridges, a railway, an through-fare converge.  The city calms. Richness increases, in lushness, style and scale. A meadow lies just over a stone wall. The Leith meanders. Hillsides forests flourish. Look back across the rooftops to take the city in full view. The hard human landscape recedes and the trees continue to climb.

Enter Corstorphine village. Find the hidden side-street and walk it back in time. Pass amongst the grave stones and find what you’ve come to see. There it is in majesty, the sycamore tree. Take a moment to touch it, to feel the cool smooth of its leaves. Feel the life it embodies and honor the lives past it guards in this churchyard.

Turn and wend back, but not along the way you came.

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