March 13, 2021

Falling tree

Dear falling tree,

I'm sorry to address you like this, but I'm afraid I don't remember your species. Strictly speaking, you aren't falling either. Or maybe you are... it's complicated.

Let me start again.

I've been thinking about you a lot lately. I saw you when we visited the Forest of Dean for a walk. From one side, you looked like a normal tree, albeit one growing right on the edge of a low rocky cliff. From the other side, however, things were different. You had grown dozens of long branches towards the 'landward' side of the cliff. Many of these had touched down on the ground and sent out roots themselves to anchor you into the earth.

We humans live such fast lives compared to you trees, so the situation I saw that day was static, and had likely looked much the same to generations of my people. It suddenly struck me that to you, this was a dramatic, life-or-death situation. You had detected that you were about to topple over the cliff and had flung out branches, roots, everything you had to grab the earth and stop yourself falling. While you were doing this, humans, and most of the other organisms with whom you share the forest were merely soft blurs, pulsing gently with the cycle of the seasons, perhaps, but no more noticeable than that.

I suppose that I am trying to say that I find the differences in our timescales comforting. This past year, time has been an odd thing. Last week, I had nearly a whole week of Tuesdays for some reason, but at other times,  months have passed in a day, and some weeks have lasted months. The current shifty-ness of time has been thoroughly unnerving, so I like the idea of being a soft blur, pulsing gently with the seasons.

As soon as we're able to travel again, I plan to visit you again and say hello. I also plan to note your species, so that I can address you properly.

Yours, in love and admiration,