Thursday, 10 February 2011

A Love for Trees

Yesterday I went on a trip with year 5 and 6 to a large field in St Albans where 500,000 trees are being planted over the next few weeks. All of the trees are being planted by school children which makes this a remarkable feat.

God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees and in the flowers and clouds and stars.
Martin Luther

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t that keen about going at first. Don’t get me wrong, I love trees. I love what trees do for us. I have been known to spontaneously hug a tree that I find beautiful. However, I was told at very short notice that my services would be needed and besides it was cold. And wet-that ever constant dreary drizzle that is forever England. But seeing as I am the Eco Council sponsor and it wouldn’t do to see an adult with lacklustre enthusiasm so off we went with a cheerful enthusiasm. And I am so glad I did.

The trip was very well organised and we all got free fleecy hats from the Woodland Trust, so it can’t be all bad. The children were given clear instructions on how to dig their own holes, measure to see if their hole was deep enough and how to plant the sapling (really just a stick with feathery roots.) We also had to do the “tree dance” --a way of stomping the earth flat around the sapling followed by speaking to the tree up close. You were to say hello and give it a name just to give it a burst of CO2 for luck. At one point I was singing Heartbreak Hotel to a tree called Elvis. Thank you very much.

All in all we planted 555 trees with just 75 children. Thank goodness for the ever present drizzle because the ground was soft enough for small children to do most of the digging themselves. But on the other hand we were all FILTHY by the end. We were told to bring a change of shoes for the way home and several children (despite being reminded a dozen times and were not allowed out of the classroom without answering the question “Do you have your snack and spare shoes?”) FORGOT their shoes or their snack or the brains back in the school (every one of those children had answered YES to the question about snack and shoes) and had to go home barefoot because we were all ankle deep in sticky mud. But despite being covered in it, there was a real sense of achievement. We have planted trees that these children will be able to take their grandchildren to see. This wood will never be cut down for paper or lumber or to make houses. It is there to be a wood--a magical forest giving us oxygen and hope.

Men will become poor because they don’t have a love for trees….If you don’t love trees you don’t love God.
Nikephoros of Chios (1750-1821) A lack of Trees Brings Poverty

1 comment:

  1. Well I guess we know now who is speaking for the trees!