1. a temporary structure for holding workers and materials during the erection, repair, or decoration of a building.
2. an elevated platform on which a criminal is executed, usually by hanging.
Whenever I hear the word “scaffolding,” I see Ronald Colman being led from the tumbril to walk, step by step, his face beatific, up the scaffold to the guillotine at the end of the 1935 film “A Tale of Two Cities,” based on Charles Dickens’ great novel about the French Revolution.
Watch it the next time it is on Turner Classic Movies. It is the only film in which Colman appears without his trademark mustache. Well, actually that is not true, but never mind…
THIS scaffolding serves an entirely different purpose, thank the gods!
The lonely tree at the end of the longest walk seems particularly striking on this day. I sit beneath it on the ground and look up at the sky through its bare branches. After I complete the Master Naturalist course next summer I will be able to tell you exactly what this tree is. Now, though, it is a solitary leafless oddity down at the end of a rugged and hilly hike. And I love its incongruity. Bella, as you can see, does not care for the tree. She is looking down the fork in the road. Come on, she says. Let’s go!
Ronald Colman as Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities (MGM, 1935)