Country diary: the woodworm’s map of whimsy

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Stamford, Lincolnshire: The trademark fingerprint of the wood-boring beetles is often hidden from sight

“Contracted” is the word that springs to mind as I look closely at the log I’ve pulled from the pile in my garden. It’s cold with frost-shimmer, and as I study its micro-landscape of moss-forest and bark-gully, I find where the rind has flaked away … something on the bare wood beneath.

I pick at the bark, like a scab. Beneath is a strange tattoo. At macro scale it resembles a labyrinth; all corners and spurs, tight-wound and interlocking, tortuous and confined. Zoom out and in form it’s like a weird fossil, outstretched wings or limbs or leaves, radiating out from a central spine or arm or trunk.

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