There comes a time in every village’s existence where bad things happen.
Such a tragedy, nay a calamity, has befallen our quiet peaceful place here in Yorkshire.
The tree, that beautiful tree that for so long graced the side of our cricket pitch. That lovely Oak that has stood sentinel over us for decades. That gorgeous testament to time that has presided over weddings, funerals, fours and sixes. That spectacular once-sapling which has grown up with the oldest of all of us. That ever-lasting fountain of age and wisdom that has been the meeting spot for countless teenage love affairs.
That tree – our tree, is no more.
Perhaps the most tragic thing about the loss of one of our oldest residents here in Hillam, is that we have lost it through our own mean graces. That’s right. The tree is dead – and it’s all our own fault.
How, after so many years, could we neglect it so?
I know what you’re thinking.
“Well, just how on Earth do you suppose that us people hurt that lovely tree? We weren’t exactly meant to be feeding it…were we?”
Of course we were. We were meant to be feeding it with out love, attention and our gratitude. No one was paying that tree to grow there. The tree only continued to grow because it was being cared for and used.
The cricket club closed down first, not enough kids playing and the old boys got too damn old. Couldn’t be helped.
Then people stopped getting married, who needs a decent Christian Wedding right? Not us, but someone enjoyed presiding over them…remember?
He watched the old boys he’d known as children die and was shocked to find that teenagers no longer chose his strong oak and leafy protection to meet for their midnight love affairs. They just talked and tapped on their phones instead and laughed at PewDiePie.
When a tree is not paid attention to, it dies.
Forests survive because the trees can pay attention to each other, they share news and gossip of dog walkers, couples having picnics and acting out dark fantasies in blue Ford Focus cars.
This tree was all alone though, with no companion to tell him of the muddy Jack-Russells, Scotch Eggs or masked deviants.
Now he’s gone and our village will forever feel that bit more empty.