By Arachne

I was taken by the shadow of the doomed apple tree on the worn old sheets I was drying after using them to protect the beans from frost. I turned round to the tree and for the millionth time was annoyed by how very clogged it is with ivy. It's bad enough that the tree has been neglected for years and clogs itself but the ivy makes it maddeningly worse. When I moved into the house I cut the ivy at its roots and I've tried numerous times since then to rip it out but it's clung tenaciously. Except that now, at last, the ivy is dead so I pulled at brittle stems, hacked at it with secateurs, levered it with a hefty screwdriver, pulled some more, used a long-handled pruner to cut and hook down the bits that were way out of reach and bit by bit I cleared it. Under one tortured tangle was a woodlouse nest, burrowed an inch into the tree. 

It was an absurd amount of work for the three months of life this tree has left, but when I'd finished it looked so much happier. I know I was projecting but even so...

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