It would appear that symbols of triumph over adversity are sadly lost on some people, even when said symbols are quite literally flourishing right in front of them.
I’m lucky in that the housing development I live in is built on the edge of what was once a churchyard. The church is long gone, but the grounds remain, and so what is now a lovely little park actually sits on my doorstep. It features a large lawn, a war memorial, several trees, squirrels galore, park benches and even a picnic table. It also often contains people walking their dogs or just chilling out in the space.
It’s certainly a beautiful view from my living room windows and one that I never fail to appreciate.
Sadly, in the four years that I’ve lived here several trees have been lost to the storms, felled by ferocious winds that are now a constant feature of the British weather.
One such tree was literally split in two by a particular violent episode about two years back. One half of it fell to the floor and one half remained. However, the remnants of its once proud boughs and trunk were, for safety’s sake, quickly chain sawed down to a mere stump that stood a little over waist height.
Undaunted by the spate of adversity it had faced, the tree stump decided to carry on regardless. The following spring, tiny shoots poked their way out from the reduced trunk and quickly grew into small branches. Each branch sprouted buds that blossomed and became leaves. For two whole summers, it wore those branches and leaves like a verdant, pagan crown. You can see the results in the picture at the top of this post.
I loved that tree stump; it was like a glorious “fuck you” and “bring it on!” to the challenges that life can chuck your way.
Sadly, as of today, that stump is no more. Bristol City Council in its infinite wisdom, or lack thereof, decided to butcher it, to take a chainsaw to that glorious symbol of fortitude and reduce it down to a mere plinth.
It will neither bud nor blossom again.
If asked for a comment, I’m sure some official at the council would say something bland and officious about health and safety.
You can survive any predicament in life, except for the things that kill you, and while that tree survived the storms, it could not survive officialdom.
Goodbye valiant little tree stump, I will always value the life lessons you taught me even if Bristol City Council will not.