You will know, my friend, that these rings plot the age of the tree. Count them and you will find its age. Few, however, can read their individual story – a story as unique as the snail’s shell or the lines on your own hand. Pull closer and watch.
This outermost ring differs in colour slightly from the rest. It is the oldest and makes the start of ageing decay, when the wood is said to become “old”.
The fifth ring from the edge marks the change from the narrower, weaker rings outside it to the broad and the many strong bands beyond – good years of growth and plenty.
You will see that bands 27 and 29 have a brilliance of colour and texture, almost a halo quality about them. These are the years the tree fulfilled its timeless destiny, germinating seed and thus procreating species.
See how the several rings from the 40th to the 50th waver uncertainly, sometimes showing strength and sometimes fading; shifting hue haphazardly but inexorably from the outer to the inner. These are the years it is undergoing that slow but unsteady change from sapling to full grown.
Those rings within, the inner 15 ending in the 65th, reveal its initial growth when it survived the many and various threats of Nature and Man, disease, deprivation and death.
The innermost ring of all, the oldest, marks the start of its life; the year it emerged into the sunlight, frail and vulnerable, its future unplanned and uncertain.
This ring, my friend? Ah, this ring!
This ring is the 37th. It stands out like a beacon among the others. Its magnificence containing a story greater than all the others put together.
But it is a story, my friend, that you must read for yourself.