TREES TAKE A LONG TIME TO GROW

Trees take a long time to grow.

I remember being astonished when neighbours, who had purchased a house nearby, announced that they had at last had the tall trees in their garden cut down because they ‘were sick and tired of the weavers building their nests there and making a mess.’ It wasn’t long after that they complained of the heat from the sun that shone into their living room all afternoon during the summer months!

Trees take a long time to grow.

A few years later a friend lamented that their new neighbours had removed the large Erythrina tree from their garden to deter the Hadeda Ibises from roosting in it at night and  ‘making such a noise’ which woke them ‘so early in the mornings.’ We had a good laugh, for she later reported that the Hadedas had simply moved to perch in another tree across the road!

Mary Lisle’s poem springs to mind:

They have cut down the pines where they stood;

The wind will miss them – the rain,

When its silver blind is down.

Not only do trees take a long time to grow, but they support and shelter a variety of life forms as well as being intrinsically beautiful. I have often mentioned the myriad birds visiting the Natal Fig in our garden and how pleasant it is to sit in the forested shade on our lawn.

Trees take a long time to grow.

A matter of only weeks ago I visited a site close to the CBD to observe Sacred Ibises and Cattle Egrets coming to roost in three tall trees growing next to a block of flats at the end of the day. Some of the latter had fledglings in their nests, while others were flapping their wings whilst firmly gripping the slim branches in the afternoon breeze.

Letters of complaint have appeared in the local press from time to time about the noise these birds make. The number of Cattle Egrets have probably increased with the influx of cattle grazing all over town – I passed seven of them sleeping on the pavement outside one of the schools this evening.

Gerard Manley Hopkins decried the loss of the avenue of Binsey Poplars:

My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,

Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,

All felled, felled, are all felled.

Trees take a long time to grow to maturity; to extend their branches; to put out their leaves, their flowers and their fruit.

I drove past that roosting site a few days ago. A single Sacred Ibis was perched atop the skeletal remains of a single tree. Someone had cut down the other two and prepared the third for removal!

Trees take a long time to grow; yet as Hopkins points out, it only takes

Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve

Strokes of havoc [to] unselve

The sweet especial scene.

All three trees have now been felled – I hope the residents of those flats roast once summer returns!

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.  – William Blake

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8 thoughts on “TREES TAKE A LONG TIME TO GROW

  1. So sad! These folks are disconnected – haven’t they heard of carbon sequestration, natural air-conditioning, moisture release and retention, air purification and oxygen generation that trees do? They should read ‘The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben & Tim Flannery. It’d open their eyes.

  2. thank you so much for this – i feel word for word as you do. it’s a pain that cuts to the core of y being to hear a tree being felled unnaturally. “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot” Joni Mitchell: Big Yellow Taxi
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot
    With a pink hotel, a boutique
    And a swinging hot spot
    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got
    ‘Til it’s gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot
    They took all the trees
    And put them in a tree museum
    And they charged all the people
    A dollar and a half to see ’em
    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got
    ‘Til it’s gone
    They paved paradise
    And they put up a parking lot
    Hey farmer farmer
    Put away that D.D.T. now
    Give me spots on my apples
    But leave me the birds and the bees
    Please
    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got
    ‘Til it’s gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot
    Late last night
    I heard the screen door slam
    And a big yellow taxi
    Took away my old man
    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got
    ‘Til it’s gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot
    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got
    ‘Til it’s gone
    They paved paradise
    Put up a parking lot
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot
    They paved paradise
    Put up a parking lot

    • It is good to hear from you again, Angie. Thank you for this pertinent memory – so so very true! It reminds me of housing developments amongst ‘scenic beauty’ only to have it all chopped down and bulldozed to make way for houses and roads until that beautiful scenery is no more.

  3. Amen. We can’t have enough trees–they add to our pleasure and health in some many ways and create habitats for our fauna. Thanks for reminded us of these things. I enjoy your postings.

  4. So sad indeed. It astounds me how so many people resent nature in all its lovely unruliness. As Eliza notes, they are disconnected. And thanks Angie for the classic lyrics from Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” – so prophetic and true that we don’t know what we’ve got till its gone.

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