Thursday 3 May 2012

The Gift of a Tree

This is me in the summer of 1992, standing next to the oak tree that I planted from an acorn just over two years previously. It was the tree that I was told would never grow. I guess it was about a foot high at the time.

This is the same tree today - 20 years later - tucked between the silver birch in the foreground and the leylandii in the background.

As you can see from the photo, it's hard to get it all in the frame without getting quite far back.

I've always loved trees - they have a special resonance for me that no other plant has. Their different silhouettes, the sound they make in high winds or gentle breezes, the texture of the bark. The fact that some trees have lived so long that their memories are as long as human history. I love the winding roots of the po trees in Thailand, the swollen belly of the African baobab, the fringes of the willow as they drift in the waters by the Norfolk Broads.

But of all trees, the oaks of the quercus family are my favourite, and of all the oaks, my own, the one I planted - quercus quercus - is my favourite of favourites.

Planting a tree is an act of faith - faith that it will be allowed to stand, and faith that those I love will live to see it grow and thrive. I planted that tree a few months before I met the girl who became my girlfriend who became my wife, who became the mother of my children; and I've invested that tree with those memories and more, so that my children and my children's children can be part of its long life and history. It is my gift to them, and to the future.

Pics: Dave Curran

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