In open fields or on hill sides, but always isolated by the surrounding land, dark gatherings trees may be seen. They are not the friendly, wholesome trees of the hedgerow, wayside, or well lit woodland. These trees have an impenetrable grimness about them as they stand in their small groups, disquieting, and ever black against the changing sky. Their brooding shadow is familiar to all who walk through these lands. They are still, silent and unmoving.
They look down on the surrounding landscape, silently waiting, and always watching. Through day and night, as seasons come and go, and the reigns of many kings pass over them, they wait as only trees know how, and they watch. It is not difficult to imagine their shady fringes being occupied by hidden creatures, hidden eyes, with hidden thoughts and unknowable intent.
The farmer ploughs dutifully around them guided by an unmarked boundary, leaving the sunless trees well alone. Their perimeter is guarded by banks of nettles, but in truth, they require no guards, for they are places best avoided. There’s no need to go there without good reason, and if pushed, a much better reason can always be found to be somewhere else.
These stands of trees are landmarks within the landscape, but they are seldom mentioned. Somewhere to be passed by without words - if not without thought - on the road to a place more welcoming. They are shunned, and left to there own ways, as they have always been, and as they should be, for who knows what may dwell within their shrouded hearts?