Recently, I climb through a few holly bushes so our family could measure the girth of one of our oak trees. It was around 353cm. Then we used one of ‘tree age’ calculators we could find online to estimate the age of it. There was quite a variance between calculator. It’s somewhere between 175 – 337 years old!
As the kids remarked, ‘That’s older than Canada, but not as old as the pub!’ Both of which are true.
When I encounter old trees or old buildings, I ofter wish they could talk. Partly to tell us the stories of things they witnessed. But mostly to share the wisdom they gathered by being around for so many years.
As we enter another week of lockdown, of juggling home learning with working from home, what would the oak tree, the walls of the pub say to us? My guess it would sound something like this. ‘It could be worse’ or ‘this too will pass’ or ‘change is constant and necessary.’ However, I suspect it would also have a tone of kindness, gentleness, generosity and encourage us to be the same. Perhaps they would remind us for some people today is a terrible day. They did not get to say goodbye to a loved one because of COVID or become some lunatic shot them. Or it’s a a terrible day because they are trapped at home with their abuser. Or their business is on the brink of bankruptcy, and so on.
But they also will likely tell the story of the little girl who planted the acorn by the stream and talked to the young oak tree all those years ago. About the person building up the walls of the pub with material from the local farms around. About people who dared to dream of a future different from their today. And quite frankly who would never have imagined actions they took would still be impacting people’s lives hundreds and hundreds of years later.
All around us are reminders of the long term view and the long arc of possibility. Seeing these reminders are needed now more than ever.