Preparing for the Enniscoe BioBlitz

Talk to me about the trees
What you have and for how long where
Decade bracket the human history
Plantings and fellings, of what tree from each Pairc,
And where you’d go to catch a cearc.

Parkland trees to native bushes
Wetland woods or drier sorts
Field hedges and river banks
Makes for a landscape of many ages
Wild corners from half a century ago
To a tree two centuries old.

Beech, Oak, Sycamore and Lime
Willow, Ash, Alder, Birch
Hawthorn, Cherry, Sloe and Apple
are the sort of trees we can expect
When we walk round Enniscoe

Take me to the woods,
And show me to the trees,
Let me look a while
‘til I’ve seen some life,
and into species so decide,
list their Latin names,
from a feature of this place.

Let that feature be some plot;
an area so clearly marked
that one cannot miss
its edges or its ground
when one next is passing round.

Footsteps botany, large or small,
Sonic memories from minds afar,
Linguistic sounds consistently uttered,
as species forms are acknowledged,
hypotheses of scientists’ from now right back to long ago.
Latin keywords that compassion allows.
Spread that tapestry of botanical micro-geography,
between each path and for each coup of wood.

Preparing for a BioBlitz
Lobarion, Parmelion, Graphidion
Lecanoretum and Pertusarietum in an arboretum
Where to look for all those sterile crusts!
Self-thinned dead branches low on trees
On the ground where the stem and cap mushrooms grow
All those mossy beds, with this and that.
Will the Ramalina & Usnea, so bushy be
in the apple orchard?
Where to look for all those sterile crusts!

Is this place geographically flat?
We will wonder if it is too even.
Was the landscape prison too wet
From trees to grass has it been
opened up and aired in a western wind
That it has dried out too much
Until there was nothing left, or did every stick
get collected in 1847.

A Temple House by the lake
A Sligo analogy for the place
A Brookeborough Demesne or a Doneraile Park
Flat limestone, lake wet,
with an equal isopleth

Morning sun into a western shore
An anti-flow that prevails
Tree wood water has to go
to make our liverworts and mosses
guide us, here, how wetness works.
For fungi and lichens too, water moves
between soil and ground or tree bark and air
with glades that bring lake dew back down to earth

Are there empty niches round the Estate?
Was canopy butchered to make end meet?
In that false economy, the cost of living,
And the price of burning nature’s furniture,
To keep us warm in our piles,
For want to keep a country seat,
And all inside in finery.

Wood from the trees costs lives
Of those who out here with spores survive
Trees for the wood, the planter’s struck
Assets for the future of all life.

Pope Francis on his Buddhist round
In Laudato Si calls for all Christians to care for all life
Make civil habitat for all life where you are
And then we can turn this extinction clock
to make the pairc and grove
Be home to Cearc and dove.

On land and lake, field and wood
when a species watches you,
and looks to be understood,
will you do the best for this,
outside the gates of Economy.

A mycological model of this place,
Pick some mushrooms, as you see ‘em
When you are walking, far away
Bring them back to the potting shed
To fill a nature table, which we will label
with some Latin names, if we know and if we are able
And with many eyes together see
we will make a better job of Bio Blitz
Than e’er we could do alone

So pick a punnet of mushrooms,
Fill a paper bag, not short with sticks
From on and under trees of every kind,
With your mysteries, share with us,
a way to help the botanical model emerge
so together go forth and let us make
A Bio Blitz for this place.

Howard FOX
25 September 2018

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