Trees, a Brief Personal History

I recently read this piece, Relict Tree, by Sally Huband. I try and keep up with everything posted on The Island Review (weirdly I still see myself as an islander). It is a go-to site for interesting comment and well-worded articlery (not really a word, but this is my blog, my rules). I have also followed Sally on twitter for a while now, and have also very much enjoyed keeping up with her marvellous nature diary, Rain Geese and Selkies.

Trees, Bracken and Fungi, Scotland

Birch and Hazel Woodland, Caithness

This particular piece started me thinking, not for the first time, about my own relationship with trees — its origins and constant, continuing importance in my life. In Relict Tree (go read it now, if you haven’t already) one of the crucial lines for me is this:

“Such was the speed of our family’s move to Shetland that I didn’t consider what it might mean to live without the quotidian comfort of trees.”

I moved to Orkney when I was eight, my parents choosing more or less the same reasons Sally goes on to give for her family’s own move — the quality of life, the different speed at which it is lived, an excellent place to raise children, the omnipresence of nature. These reasons have shaped me and my whole ethos.

(more…)