Yesterday was National Tree Day in Ireland. To mark the day I went with my Mother who is staying with us for a week and my friend Saffron to Lough Rynn Estate near Mohill in County Leitrim. There is also a lovely walled garden there and the big house is now a successful hotel. But yesterday it was the trees which held my interest.
Being amongst trees is for me like meeting old friends again. There is an easiness in the relationship, a feeling of security to be amongst them, a belonging that cannot be falsified. Maybe it stirs my primeval memories of when our land was covered in great forests.
Entering a forest is like entering a sanctuary, a place of comfort and safety. A place to walk amongst nature in all its glory. It is calming and soothing to the human mind. It is so amazing to touch, to connect with these plants that have lived here for hundreds or even thousands of years. What have they witnessed? If only they could speak!
But then, maybe they speak, it is us who are not listening. Observe their generosity. How they provide food and shelter for man and beast. Many modern medicines have their origin in trees. They cleanse the air we breathe. They shelter our homes from the ravages of weather and throw shade on a warm day. All without words, without acknowledgement from us.
There are of course people who love trees, who see themselves of their protectors. One of those people is 65 years old Teresa Treacy from Tullamore, County Offaly. For many years she has been planting thousands of trees by hand on a farm owned by herself and her sister. It was her mission in life. Three weeks ago she was thrown into jail because she would not allow an electricity supplier to clear 14 acres of her beloved forest to erect plyons. What a shame on our once tree covered country. The judge who jailed her said she would not be released until Teresa withdrew her contempt. She did not do so. She remained firm, like a well rooted Oak. Today Teresa was released from jail thanks to a huge public outcry. Hopefully she will be left in peace in her favourite place…amongst trees.