Away from home on a workshop, I was left in low spirits by discussion of the latest news of ecological calamity. Was it the unseasonable winter warmth of the Arctic, the catastrophic fall in bird numbers, the trillions of pieces of plastic in the ocean? No matter: I am never sure if it is news of ecological catastrophe or the failure of humankind to pay attention that gets to me most. I walked in the garden toward the end of the afternoon; deeply upset, I was on my way to talk to a tree.

It was a particular tree I was seeking out, one that had first drawn my attention towering above its companions ...


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