Death of a Tree

A tree that was my soul-mate died today.

This oak tree that was killed by Storm St Jude had character, looking like a human head from a certain angle.  The tree had character, a nesting box for wild birds, a hollow at its base, and a sense of strength and age.

This oak tree that Storm St Jude killed had character, looking like a human head from a certain angle. The tree had a nesting box for wild birds, a hollow at its base, and a sense of strength and age.

Monday afternoon, calm after the storm, I retraced my steps to inspect the damage.  It was shocking.  Colchester suffered two hours of high winds, in that short period of time the carnage to the trees in the town was huge.

Passing through Hilly Fields I saw half the great trees guarding the “Chiswell Meadow” spring had fallen.  The entrance to Cymbeline Meadows, where I had raced through as tree branches crashed all around me, was now blocked with fallen trees.

I was grief struck as I came upon the scene I did not want to see, a tree that I had fallen in love with, which I had named the “Castle Tree,” had fallen, cut down by Storm St Jude.  My earlier jubilation of experiencing this storm evaporated. Today, I shed tears like the leaves of my now dying friend.  The oak tree that had dominated a field boundary, the object of many of my photos, that had experienced so much in its 500+ years of life, lay broken across the field; cows gathered in refuge from a sudden burst of rain inside its fallen branches.

Weeks before I had gathered acorns from its branches, planting dozens of them.  This was a fallen comrade, a source of many evenings of meditation, a symbolic-soul mate.  I felt sick, a deep grief.  A month before I said to someone this tree would outlast me, it would become a symbol in my business, I did not think it would fall so cruelly and unexpectedly.  I often pass this tree, now a grave.  After the shock, I shall gather more acorns, and some of the wood to craft.  I hope something of the Castle Tree will live on, for now all I see is a broken fallen tree, I am unable to get close to due to the cows.

Later I arrive in my wood, predictably one of the two trees that hung threatening my tent had fallen, though it missed the tent, had I been under it at the wrong moment I would not now be writing this blog post.  The smaller tree at the camp which I thought would fall, was still standing, nature is blind when it comes to what lives or dies.


33 responses to “Death of a Tree

  1. [ Smiles ] A great lesson on impermanence.

  2. Yes its sad, Trees are precious and its always sad to see them fall.. Sorry to hear of you favourite one falling

    I just came from a post which said 4 people have lost their lives in the storms most to fallen trees… My thoughts also go to their families ..
    I think the storms we will see are only the beginning of changes we are witnessing..

  3. That’s really sad. I have felt like that about trees I have loved and lost in the past. It has always been a shock, because those trees had looked so strong, and I had felt reassured by their strength, their resiliance, their determination to keep reaching for the sky.

  4. I feel the pain when i hear the chainsaw, but i feel shocked when i hear them fall.

    • I agree, the shock can be profound, it was for me today, and to see so many trees down, including the tree I developed a connection with.

      • I feel with you. I also have connections with some individual trees in the forest.

        I remember a particularly bad storm early in the nineties, in February, and the next morning I saw several trees with chopped off ‘heads’. That felt really terrible: a trunk, sometimes 10meter high, and then nothing.

  5. Smile, and feel privilaged to have been included in its 500+ year old story.
    Sorry for your loss.

  6. Can the wood be recovered? Are you able to create some memento to remind you of your friend?

  7. Sorry to hear this Alex. What are they planning to do with the tree’s remains?

  8. What a loss – that was a magnificent tree.

  9. It is so sad when this sort of thing happens.. yet a person said that the weaker give way for the younger and stronger to take their place… the problem is we won’t live long enough to see the younger stronger ones grow up…

  10. Poor tree and poor you! 😦

  11. I understand your sorrow Alex..and the hollow sadness of a felled friend as stalwart as this tree.

  12. Bro, nature is our great teacher! Its showing us “the impermanence of life”. Take care!

  13. i love the way how you distill emotions so purely out of the ordinary… cheers!

  14. just the other day i thought about my soulmate tree, i have a few.. everything happens for a reason, but great idea about acorns and wood craft!

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