I woke with a fright just before dawn.   There was a scream in my ears and the sound of something falling.   I thought it sounded like a chair hitting the floor.   There was no further sound.   John was not disturbed.   In the morning he went downstairs and came back, reporting no overturned chairs or other explanation.

At 9 am I heard the dreaded sound of the chain saw, but carried on with what I was  doing in the front of  the house, and I have just come down to my desk at the back of the house and find to my absolute  despair and horror that the two remaining Scots pines  that I feel have guarded our rear for t he past 24 years are being chopped down.

The trees are in our neighbour’s garden.   Originally there were 7 of them, and they have been whittled away over the years.    The first time this happened, I wrote in my diary that I hoped  the man who gave  the order to destroy those trees died at a  crossroads with a stake through his heart.   (No worse curse can be wished upon you by a Celt.)     But now I am older  and wiser, and I know that the mouth that curses shall want bread, and who knows for what reason the order may have been given, and another man’s fate and destiny is no business of mine.    Doom comes upon us all soon enough;  we do not have to hasten it even upon our enemies;  all we have to do is wait.   Better we should use our energy to bless our friends.   So whatever benighted goblin gave this order has nothing to fear from me.

I would estimate from their size that those trees have stood for over a hundred years.   They were here when this was farmland with no houses.    They have survived Hitler’s bombing.     I have often blessed the memory of he who planted them.    They are vanished now.   In a single morning they have been obliterated.

When we came here and I was homesick for the North, their familiarity comforted me.    Their red bark shone in the evening sunlight.   Squirrels played in their branches and crows and magpies and pigeons   rested in them and pursued their tender courtships.   The light played on their beauty all day.   They were ever a delight.

I feel like packing up my household goods, right now, today, and setting my wagons in motion with the great cry of North!     I feel like the South has cast me out.      Perhaps I should return to wherever  I came from.

The great song of our blood was always  North!   But I have not heard it for a long time, or perhaps I have simply not been listening.    But I see it still runs, it still plays, it still lilts; it grows stronger.      I want to live where the Scots pine can still flourish.    I feel like I have had a long love affair with England, and in a single hour, it has come to an end.

PS    I wrote that yesterday.   One lonseome pine still stands.     Perhaps I will not order the horses just yet.     But the dogs are still milling about in the yard, sniffing the air for a change in the wind.

Every time I look into that empty space, there is an ache in my heart.      That goblin …   how can he sleep at night?     The tree that screamed may haunt his dreams.

About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.


  1. Sheena says:

    Claire, Geoff and I were out for a walk in a forest the other day. After gambolling ahead of us for most of the walk, she stopped suddenly beside a young beech tree and threw her arms around it. She said, “Come on, Mummy, come and hug this tree.” Then she said very knowingly, “Trees like to be hugged.”

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