Sadness and trees

This week I have been feeling rather sad after the events of the last few days so I decided to write about a special tree I know but this is quite sad too in some ways. For many years I have visited ancient trees, three of them in an ancient forest in Northamptonshire. I knew about three trees there and visited one of them many times so sit with it and on it and enjoy its peace and wonder at how it had grown. It was an ancient beech. Later I found it had been cut down and only a stump remains. It was quite close to the road so I suspect it had become unsafe. The other two trees are in a different part of the forest and a small distance apart. One is an ash tree and the other a beech tree.

The first time I visited the ash tree was around 15 years ago or more. It was awesome. I stood under its canopy and felt like a midget standing there. The tree was so powerful I could hardly believe it but I felt its energy strongly. Some years later on another visit I was dismayed to find it had been almost cut in half. and looked bare and desolate. Last week I persuaded my son to take me out there. I felt an urge to see this ancient ash and find out if it was still alive. It was alive. It was hollow but had branches coming out from it and there were signs of new growth. I felt relieved but sad too.

We did not have time to visit the third tree so I hope it is still growing strongly and giving pleasure to many. I have also visited many other ancient trees in various places, one in a farmyard! I often wonder what stories they could tell us about the life of people during the ife of the tree. 300 years is a long time and much has changed over this period of time.

Here are 3 photos of the ash tree, one in full bloom, one after its cutting and the final one from this week.


I always think that this time of the year is wonderful. Nature brings out such colours and the trees show us many different shades of green. There is something about the sight of trees in full bloom or just very leafy that fills the heart with joy. Yet even now moving towards the end of May, the ash locally is only just opening it’s leaves. I was looking for an oak tree when walking in a small patch of woodland on Thursday to see which had opened it’s leaves first. There is the old saying ‘oak before ash, it will be a splash, ash before oak, will be a soak’. This refers to the summer weather so I hope the oak came first!

Here is a photo of a tree taken in Kew in May a few years ago.