Memento tree

The embankment where I sneak in at site B has been largely demolished and nearly all the trees removed, apart from a strip overlooking neigbouring land which has been left intact, a line of trees - and a skinny, one metre tall oak sapling which had just escaped the clear out with only minor damage. I tried to dig it out to take home and re-plant but the root went down way further than I expected so the kidnapping attempt failed. Would have been nice to have a little memento of site B, what was, and good luck to that little oak tree.
Even though I knew landscaping work was going on along that perimeter it was still quite a shock cycling up and finding much of it excavated out. The earth has been used for extensive landfill at the back. It looked really black, particularly under the pale October cloud. I'd estimate that a few thousand tons of earth have been moved in the intervening two weeks since I was last there. That embankment had become very familiar to me over the last few years or so, it was so specific; my way in, using the branches of trees to help climb the steep bank, it was a vantage point, I'd catch my breath at the top and see if the coast was clear then make my way down, clothes catching on brambles, looking through cherry trees. It was a mature habitat, a 50 years deep, I'd reckon. Doing photographs over and over in those transitioning locations etches things about them in a way that probably happens to no-one else. Why would it? They are usually off-limits to the public and I doubt the construction workers or site foreman has the time or interest to notice much about them, they probably see past what's there, it is as an obstacle to resolve, overlaid with a vision of what is to be created there.
Emphasising significant change by pairing relevant 'before and after photographs' into diptychs doesn't have much appeal for me but one consequence of re-visiting a site over and over is that all the layers of time from when I first started walking around taking pictures overlap in a curious way. The presence of the former enormous structures of the closed-down foundry are still remembered, as to the appearances of the various stages of dismantling and clearance, they linger in the mind's eye behind the current earthworks and batches of homes that advance from the front. It's all one.


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