I’m not quite sure why trees can have such a powerful hold on us, but it’s a remarkable, almost spiritual phenomenon. We sense they are living things – often venerable, always graceful, occasionally of stunning beauty.
The sycamore that stood by Hadrian’s Wall for 300 years was chopped down in an apparent wanton – but surely premeditated – act of vandalism. As has been rightly observed, it was handsome enough to be a film star, and its performance in the 1991 version of the tale of Robin Hood was hardly wooden.
Seeing it lying there, stricken, helpless, slowly dying makes one irrationally depressed – it’s only a tree, you try to tell yourself. I’d never met the tree, after all. But, like many of us, it was a sad – even sickening – sight. To those who had some connection with it – a marriage, a scattering of ashes, a habitual resting stop – its loss is more akin to a bereavement. Many tears have been shed.
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