Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

Conkers? Health and Safety gone Barking Bonkers? I’m Stumped.

So much for my anticipation of walking to school collecting conkers!

This morning on the way to school there were two men sawing up the tree. True enough, after the tail end of Hurricane Katia last week, a big chunk of the tree had fallen out – but branches do that in the tail end of a hurricane, I’d have thought.

But then what do I know about tree surgery? Nothing. Maybe it was a perfectly valid health-and-safety felling of a tree. But it seemed a bit over-keen to me.

I tried to google around for a picture of the tree, but there weren’t any online. And part of the landscape has now gone.

Anyway I had a flashback to a poem by Thomas Hardy, called “Throwing a Tree“.

In the poem he describes watching the same scene, but in the days before chainsaws.

Here’s the first stanza:

The two executioners stalk along over the knolls,
Bearing two axes with heavy heads shining and wide,
And a long limp two-handled saw toothed for cutting great boles,
And so they approach the proud tree that bears the death-mark on its side.

And my conclusion was the same as Hardy’s – that by the time I went to collect the children from school, the last of tree was being loaded into a tractor. So short a time to get rid of something that took so long to grow:

And two hundred years’ steady growth has been ended in less than two hours.

All in all, I suspect that this felling was for health and safety reasons and the tree was condemned because it couldn’t keep ahold of its branches through the storm – but I had thought they’d just remove the large hunk of bough and leave the tree alone.

So much for the moths and bacteria due to arrive in 2012.



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8 thoughts on “Conkers? Health and Safety gone Barking Bonkers? I’m Stumped.

  1. It’s always so sad to see a tree felled, especially venerable species like Chestnuts.

  2. And yet–very few trees live forever and many trees continue making wonderful memories in familiar old furniture, cozy fires, etc. While it is natural to attach one’s self to a beautiful old tree, if we were to ask the tree, it might tell us it would rather continue living a bit more in those mentioned ways, rather than rot away trying to be something it cannot, anymore, be. 🙂

  3. It does make one sad for an old tree but you are right, they did so for safety reasons and if the tree lost the branches from the top, it wouldn’t probably have made it through the spring. There are some trees that are 3 thousand years old, one is in Greece, it’s an olive tree. One is in Iran or Iraq, I think that it has been around as long as 2000 years. I know that in South America, there is one and in the U.S there are two. Trees, thousands of years old.

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