The Phantom Tree

You’ll have to look at this picture carefully to see The Phantom Tree (as usual, click on it to get a larger image.) It’s in the very middle of Greenwich Park – not far from the bandstand, and slightly down the hill. It’s the middle of summer, and yet this tree is a mere skeleton. A neat skeleton, I’ll grant you, in a perfect tree-shape, but a skeleton all the same. A ghostly shadow in crepuscularly purple shades.

Is it actually dead? Or maybe, by some freak of Nature, some strange variety that only sends forth shoots in winter? Whatever, I rather like it. It reminds me of those eerie leaf skeletons you sometimes find on country walks in Autumn, and I like to feel it is a little secret for true Greenwichers; seen and yet somehow not seen by most other park users.

You could walk past this secret little tree a million times and not even register it, but once you know it’s there, I promise you’ll never miss it. I hope it’s allowed to stay, though I hold out little hope. Come the Olympics it will be first for the chop, I suspect, being neither historic nor, ahem, actually alive…

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