The morning mists linger long in the valley I live in and whilst we all roll our eyes at them from time to time and wish they would just disappear and leave us with a bit of blue sky, perhaps mist today is a good thing.
Already on the other side of the normally peaceful river plain, the chainsaws are whirring and I know the larch woods that have been a fixture of this particular horizon for a century or more are being cut down. There is a reason for it. There is always some reason: even if it doesn’t seem a very good one. In the case, it’s the ramorum disease, the Dutch elm disease of our times, a destructive fungus to which larch trees are very susceptible. They need to be cut down for the sake of other woodland species and cutting them down is the only measure that can be taken (at least, it’s cheaper than any other option). It is an unfortunate but rather universal parable for our times: the need to cut back for the good of the country.
But today, anyway, I don’t want the mist to lift. Hearing the woodland falling is sad enough. and there really are few sadder sounds than something that has been growing for a century or more being felled, just like that, with a couple of whirring chainsaws and a JCB.
Perhaps the ray of sunshine we can glean from this, in this age of cut-backs, is the increased need to grow – by which I mean the more motivated we should all be, individually, to grow something. It doesn’t have to be a tree. It doesn’t even have to be a pot-plant. It could be painting a picture, writing a book, building a solar-powered car, it doesn’t matter provided it is something fresh and positive that sows a seed of hope. Because cutting back just erodes hope.