It's winter, so the branches of the Weeping Beech hang spindly and bare, scraping the ground around the tree. Pushing through them yesterday, alone, on a little walk through the Botanic Gardens to mark the end of the year, I saw the twisting and bulbous trunk of the tree for the first time.
There, Melissa, Saul, Mayra, David, Belkis and hundreds of others had come to carve their names. This began, as far as I could tell, around 1998. I traced my fingers over the botanic graffiti. Then I looked up. The trespassers had started climbing higher to add their initials to the record.
Surely more will come this summer, when the trunk will be hidden by the leaves again.