To return to the post. A few weeks ago I was driving (which I seem to do a lot of) and letting my thoughts wander as they normally do. This day however I got rather philosophical on myself. As I drove along a quiet road edged with tall, elegant trees that gracefully bowed their heads to form a tunnel dappled with light - a quiet, magical place - I started thinking about these great giants of the natural world. I thought about how proud they looked, how majestic they are and how, no-matter what passes - turmoils, economic crises, wars, life and death, these beautiful trees stand strong and firm through it all quietly witnessing the events and bearing the scars. In my minds eye I can see the great old oak trees where children from one generation to next clamber up their rough bark, small hands stretching for branches overhead and feet kicking and scrabbling to climb even higher. There's a place under it's thick canopy where walkers and couples looking for peace have found shelter and a secret hiding place from the world.
Borrowdale yew, Cumbria *
The 'tree of hope'**
Then, but a day or two later, it was as if Mother Nature was teaching sentimental old me a lesson. The wind flurried and flustered and then came on strong, fierce and relentless. It battered the trees, shook them and stripped them of their loose branches and delicate spring leaves. Trees now lay fallen like wounded soldiers with broken arms and feet uprooted. These fallen ones saddened me; their bark ripped off to reaveal pale, delicate flesh so raw in the sunlight. Their life lines, the sturdy deep roots now an exposed tangle of mud and twisted cords.
Whilst I stood and breathed in the sweet, mildew smell of the newly turned soil that clung to the roots I realised that although the fall of these majestic trees was sad, they would live on. The fine trees might now provide a home for new creatures, compost for little seedlings, a playground for curious children and maybe just maybe a table or chair for you or me.
* This Yew is immortalized in Yew Trees By William Wordsworth.
Photograph by Simon Fraser sourced from The Guardian article 'Six of Britain's Oldest Trees'
** The only remaining pine from a grove of 70,000. This pine is a symbol of hope to the people of Rikuzentakata whose town was hit by the devastating Tsunami that struck Japan earlier this year. Photo source: www.malomaal.com
The bottom three images are mine.