Today, on one of the hottest days for a while, we finished taking down an evergreen that had sadly developed a blight. Its lush green had turned to rust and the ground beneath was littered with russet needles. No evergreen now.
It wasn’t the best of days to be doing it. Yesterday, when I started, I was in the shade for a while. We did need to remove it fairly urgently in case the blight spread to the trees on either side. Today we were in full sun by the afternoon.
Later on, I came across a poem that seemed rather apt – see an extract below
When people are born they are supple,
and when they die they are stiff.
When trees are born they are tender,
and when they die they are brittle.
Stiffness is thus a companion of death,
flexibility a companion of life.
Our tree was certainly brittle, the branches that had been so supple were transformed into brittle, fragile fronds that shed their needles onto the ever thickening layer carpeting the soil.
Sadly this tree, planted we were told back in the early 1990s, will no longer shade the path to the side gate but, as we cleared up, we could see that this particular corner of the garden will now get the benefit of more sun. In the autumn we’ll plant wood anemones and wild daffodils around the tree stump and, now we can get to the part of the ground that was smothered in ivy, we hope that next year we’ll see a clump of bluebells to complete a bright natural patchwork.
In a time when we should be planting more trees, it seemed sad to have to take one down but, it’s not just Covid 19 that’s causing loss of life. In the natural world there are constant battles against various diseases and many of our woodland areas are witnessing a loss of larch trees. We hope our other cypresses survive to be ever green.
As people, we have to learn to be supple like willows, not stiff like an oak. Both our minds as well as our bodies need to be flexible, open to ideas, suggestions from all directions. A violinist who is standing stiffly needs to learn to bend like the willow, letting the music flow through him. If in our thinking we refuse to change old attitudes, refuse to learn and absorb new ideas then we will remain as one turned to stone by Medusa. We need to be ‘open to the light’ from all kinds of sources.