To paraphrase Cold Chisel “We share some history, this tree & I”.
The arborist in me sees this is a Quercus robur, commonly known as English Oak, with poor form and a significant wound in the trunk, probably as a result of the fracture of a co-dominant stem 50-60 years ago. To the child in me however, this has another name entirely. This is the Easy tree.
We lived a short distance away in a drab brown council house. A clone, exactly the same as a thousand other drab brown council houses. Except we had the Easy tree.
My brother and I could see this tree from our bedroom window the day we moved in. It was a giant tree. Probably haunted and definitely where pirates would hide treasure.
We planned our mission carefully. Mum was busy unpacking and our sisters were helping so we had to sneak out really quietly. We were expert sneakers.
By the time we got to the base of the tree it had grown to double its size. Clearly one of its magical properties.
As we stood looking up at this enormous tree, planning exactly how we would get up there and find the treasure we heard voices. Looking round we saw a couple of older boys.
They didn’t look very nice.
The taller one said, “you cant play here, that’s OUR tree”.
My little brother Jake replied innocently “why is it your tree?”
The younger one sneered “because we can climb it!”
Quick as a flash Jake snapped back “I bet my big brother can climb it better than both of you!”
There are pivotal moments in your life. Points at which, looking back, you can see your future unfolding from one word, one decision, one action.
I pushed out my chest, striking my most Tarzan-like pose and said, “Yeah, I can”.
Don’t remember much of the climb, except that the tree was hard and scratchy. I do remember the look of awe on the Wigglesworth brothers faces when I got to the absolute crown. Later I found out their idea of climbing the tree was to reach the first branches about 8 feet off the ground. The crown was closer to 40 feet high.
From these lofty heights I looked out over our newly conquered kingdom and called out to my little brother “Hey Jake, come on up, its EASY!”
I was 5 years old.
Want to share some tree history stories of your own? Send me an email or give me a call.
John (Doc) Holliday