A tree falls

A handful of the millions of leaves which have fallen this past week

The high winds last week brought a change over just a few days to the look of the countryside, as millions of leaves were blown off the trees and have settled in corners and gutters, drifted in through our front doors and the entrances to the churches, and brought a feeling that we are beginning to pass from autumn into winter.

Things larger and heavier than leaves were stirred too, and a great tree came down in the churchyard of St Nicholas’ Church causing the destruction of two sheds, but fortunately no headstones or other grave monuments have been damaged. Extracting mowers and strimmers from the wreckage proved possible, though some things are lost.

How is it that a tree always looks bigger when it is felled than when it is upright? I really don’t know, but it does. The longevity of trees is probably part of it. Once they are fifteen of twenty years old they don’t seem to develop much each year, but, of course, they are gradually growing higher and wider and casting a greater shadow, and hence encroaching on the ground beneath and the low-growing plants covering the ground.

These days we are particularly sensitive about felling trees, understandably too, considering the destruction of so much ancient woodland, but sometimes trees are in the wrong place, or are destroying something else of particular value or rarity because of the shade they cast or the water that they suck up. However, losing a tree unexpectedly in a storm, even if it does no damage, causes quite a sensation in and amongst a residential area. So the corner of the churchyard that is affected has been cordoned off and the question now remains: “How does one remove such a large tree?” We await the advice of the tree surgeons and the assessment by the insurers. Life is rarely dull!

John Mann