Ents in Lord of the Rings and have a passion for Yew.
To me they are as alive as my next door neighbour - in fact they're more so. They don't just stand there doing nothing. They do masses - very slowly.
We have an oak in our garden. My wife picked up an acorn in Kew Garden soon after we moved into our house 14 years ago. She put it in a pot and now it's grown out of the bottom of the pot and is 12 feet tall. Each spring we'd watch it sprout new leaves and measure its growth. Initially it was hidden by all the other plants and shrubs but slowly it pushed its way up and now is overlording them all - except our very old sycamore.
Our monkey puzzle tree is slow even by standard tree time. It seems to spend most of its energies making its leaves as spiky as possible, not worrying too much about climbing to the sky. And our tree peony, after a few fallow years is covered in colour - fleetingly in spring. All that effort and it's over in an evening. Strange that something that counts the years in decades should rush to get over procreation. Maybe it's embarrassed by the mechanics.
It is of course the power of 2 that drives nature's fecundity. Watch a tree over the years. To begin with there's just one growing point - can't do much with that. But then it bifurcates and next year you've two points of growth and then they bifurcate and you've four points of growth; and so on. It' so simple but frighteningly powerful.
Have you noticed trees which bend metal or brick. If they can't bend they absorb. A length of railing disappears into the trunk of a tree to re-appear when the tree decides. Or an ancient door whose misfortune it was to be next to a slow growing yew. Over the centuries the door has kept guard - halting all but the holy and penitent from its threshold. But the sacred yew cannot be stopped as it bends the brick and mortar to its patient advance.
Enter an ancient church yard. You are greeted by sentinels, standing silent but watching as they have done since the saints touched our shores. It is both reassuring and awesome. If anything understands eternity it is the yew.
So it is with a joyous welcome that I greet our Council's new tree strategy. An ugly phrase for a beautiful plan. Our trees are valued, they are invaluable members of our community. Providing contrast, clean air, delight and a healthy attitude. Trees are like churches - beacons - marking out the community. Anchoring what can seem to be a shifting topography. Give trees the vote I say.
And this won't just be another policy that fails to materialise. Not only warm words and pious hopes. No, this time the trees are backing this and they're on the move.
Just ask Saruman.