pine plantation

The Gold Dust Wedding

From Memories of St. Martinville by Charles Larroque (1999, Pelican Publishing):

“Oak and Pine Alley was planted by the slaves of Charles Jerome Durand around 1829. The three-mile alley leading from the Bayou Teche to Durand’s house was a veritable landmark, leaving no doubt as to the social position of the property owner. Like the sugarcane he planted, Durand’s imagination knew no bounds. The plantation family was awakened each morning by servants spraying perfumed mists. After baths in scented waters, daily routines began with promenades in gold-ornamented carriages rivaling even those of Versailles.

In 1850, on the occasion of the simultaneous weddings of his two daughters, Durand’s slaves decorated the arboreal alley in a manner befitting his most eccentric nature. Prolific web-spinning spiders were brought in (some say from the nearby Atchafalaya Basin, others say from as far away as China) and were released in the trees to go about their arachnidan business. Then slaves went to their task of coating the dewy, billowing webs with gold and silver dust blown from bellows. And under this splendidly shimmering canopy proceeded the ethereal promenade of the wedding party and its two thousand guests.”

What if trees could hear us, and remember us? What would they remember? What would they think?

  • Trees on city parks remembering couples whispering their love for each other, the nursery rhymes of kids playing, and the ocassional robbery
  • Giant, thousand-old redwoods, towering across the forest fondly remembering when they were little acorns and when humans first tried, and failed to, measure their heights
  • Lonely Ombú trees on the Argentine pampas, humming every song that gauchos sang under them when looking for a shadow to rest and drink mate
  • Palm trees on forgotten oases on the arabian deserts, waiting for the next caravan to come, as they have done for centuries
  • The rain tree on the front yard of my house, remembering all the times I climbed it with my brother and my friends, all those little branches we used as swords, and recognizing me each time I come back from college, even when my family never quite knew what was it’s species exactly
  • Little white Lapacho trees proudly flowering for the first time on a cold rainy winter near the Paraná river, thanking the sweet girl who nursed them to grow to where they stand today
  • Bristlecone trees, thousands of years old, that have seen the mountains change with time, and things they would rather forget…
  • Red Quebracho trees in a national park, mourning the death of their blood red companions, and silently dreaming of covering my Chaco of forests once again…
  • Pine plantations in a strange land, growing into silent forests, all thinking the same, planted like soldiers of an army made of wood…
  • An extense jungle with thousands upon thousands of memories of colors smells and sounds, forgotten by the noise of bulldozers…
  • An orange tree lost in a backyard somewhere doing its best to grow sweet oranges for the family that tended it since it was a seed…
  • A lonely palm tree in the Pampas, remembering the girl who always talked to it when she was drawing near her plantpot, now growing tall and proud, wondering where she went…



I found a load of mushrooms on my walk. Top and bottom were in deciduous woodland, the rest were in a pine plantation (UK). Cap of third one was five or six inches across. Cap or third one was about two to three inches across. I’ve got them all down to Genus from the photos but I didn’t have my book with me on the walk so couldn’t get them to species level. Mushrooms are not my strong point. Would be great if anyone out there knows what they are. I want to see how far off my guesses at species are.