The lives marked in the beech bark are usually reduced to initials, dates and a runic symbol of love (see post 23/9/16). They are enigmatic. This is no less so. Who was Harvey, why and when was he here and was he alone? More than that: what motivated him to take the time to carve this literal message? Not the impetuous trace of a love affair, this becomes a memorial, an epitaph carved on a living headstone.
Harvey has cut naïve letters; this face is the work of a skilled hand. Is it a Green Man? I imagine so. Green Man: a representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves; often used as a decorative architectural ornament; and found in many cultures from many ages around the world, is often related to natural vegetative deities, a symbol of rebirth, representing the cycle of growth each spring. Here nature provides the leaves usually created by the sculptor.
Photos: The Beechwoods, Cambridge, 2017