The Oak Tree at Liz at Lancaster

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now

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In the early ’70s after buying the house at no 79 Lancaster Ave in Craighall Park, my then-husband and I planted a tree … an oak tree. Those were the days before the rightful concerns about planting indigenous. The oak tree loved its new location with lots of underground water. The tree grew: was home to a swing;  shaded a sandpit; offered a safe sandy patch around its base for a small fire where small boys braaied sausages in twilight adventures; and provided nerve-rackingly high branches for a 7 year old and his friend to haul up (McIver-style, with a rope) – planks, a hammer and some nails. What was rather grandiosely called a “tree-house’ by enthusiastic 7 year old construction engineers, was more like a precarious open-air look-out, dangerously linking 2 extremely high branches. 

The oak dropped its acorns; it shed its leaves; new buds unfurled; and it grew and grew and grew.

Many times over the last 5 decades the magnificent oak has been severely shorn. 

Cutting back 15th November 2022
Seemingly forlorn and starkly exposed 15th Nov 2022

And each time the new shoots have burgeoned forth as a sign of revival, silent energy, renewed strength and the beginnings of further seasonal cycles, another miracle of nature and growth.  

6th January 2023

New beginnings and new shoots

Spring again from hidden roots

Pull or stab or cut or burn,

Love must ever yet return. 

Robert Graves



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