Trees, the beating heart of the natural world.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really stopped to fully appreciate the extent of how wonderful our green friends actually are. Through the changing seasons and the unpredictable weather conditions they stand elegantly watching over us as we rush around in our everyday lives.
Did you know that there are approximately three trillion trees in the world? Here in the UK, we are lucky to have 32 different species of tree: from sycamores, silver birches to oak trees.
Regrettably, I’ve only ever really looked at trees as part of the background scenery. I suppose living in the countryside means that they’re something I see every day and admittedly, I do take them for granted. I’m ashamed to say that it’s taken a global pandemic to make me realise just how much these wonderful plants bring to our environment.
Not only do they play an essential part in life, they provide a link between the past, present and future. They are the longest living species on Earth and patiently watch over the ever-changing landscape decade after decade. If you think about it, they have a remarkable resemblance to a swan – hear me out on this one!
Whilst each unique figure remains motionless there’s a hive of activity going on underneath the surface. From their trunks to the branches in full leaf to the maze of roots deeply embedded below the ground they’re providing us with oxygen, storing carbon, stabilising the soil and offering essential accommodation and shelter for wildlife.
I mean, is there anything trees can’t do?
Aside from their extensive restorative powers which seem to cure humanity’s ills, trees hold sentimental value and form part of one’s appreciation for the natural world. For me, they have two main connotations.
Firstly, they remind me of home. Moving approximately 200 miles away for university in a vibrant city means that trees aren’t something I wake up to every morning. At university, I am greeted by the tired corner shop on the rundown road serving yet another pastry to a hungry student, whereas at home, I am greeted by a gentle wave from the branches of the tree next to my bedroom window.
This complete contrast in lifestyle is quite a lot for a young country bumpkin like me to take in, so being able to escape to the local arboretum where greenspace greets the eye at every turn is a lifesaver. Trees carry the sentimental values that I associate with home in each of their fibres and, as silly as it may seem, they serve as a strong reminder that home is never too far away.
Now, this next point isn’t so much what trees mean to me, it’s what they imply. Being an avid horse-rider and runner means that I often find myself on routes where I’m either ducking under sloping branches or running over fallen leaves. Being this close to nature undoubtedly puts things into perspective, especially at a time like this where the coronavirus pandemic has brought an unprecedented amount of uncertainty to everyday life. Yet there’s comfort to be found in that, no matter what’s going on in the world, nature’s cycle carries on and things will get better.
They’re more than just a centrepiece in a field: they’re regenerative, beautiful and we should celebrate them for all they do because #TreesAreTheKey.
Anna Parkinson and The Team