I've recently started to re-read Richard Mabey's book, 'Beechcombing, The narratives of trees'. This extract from early in the book caught my eye and started me thinking about the continuing saga over the diseased Horse Chestnut trees in the village.
This is Richard Mabey writing about our response to the hurricane that wrote off so many of our trees.
The physical loss of the trees, was matched by the injury to our complacency. The denting of our sense of the proper order of things. This wasn't what was supposed to happen. Trees were monuments to security emblems of continuity and peace in an unstable world, the terrible looting of our native Woods during the 1960s and 1970s had passed, and they've been superseded by a new mood of respect and affection.
We hugged trees. We planted trees. We were their friends for goodness sake.
It was as well that we didn't understand then that the storm may not have been an entirely natural event, but an early augury of climate change, and therefore, our fault; muddled feelings of grief and betrayal and confusion were quite enough to cope with at the time. The storm had upturned all kinds of deep-rooted assumptions about the ways that trees did - and should - behave. It left ramshackle rot riddled veterans intact and levelled in their millions the youthful. The fastidiously planted, the lovingly tended, and the totally healthy, many of which further subverted the conventional notion of what a tree was by coming back to life in a horizontal position.
So yesterday I wandered into Chapel Lane to see how our trees were doing, after all, they've been the subject of major conflict between residents in Formby and Sefton Council including 'Tree experts'. We know the outcome of that argument, some of the trees have gone but some remain, nurtured lovingly by our Parish Council.
This is one of them.
I don't know about you but in my view two more of these once magnificent trees are coming to the end of their lives, early deaths to be sure but as Richard Mabey writes above hastened by our continuing disregard for the natural world. These trees should be recognised as our 'Canary in a cage'.
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