This is a tree we can see from our garden. The walk across the farmers field takes you right beside it. When we first moved here it was so much bigger. Almost symmetrical. Unfortunately countless storms and a couple of lightning strikes have taken their toll. I guess that’s the price you pay for being a big isolated tree on an exposed hill top.

So it finally happened. All the countries schools will close on Friday. A skeleton childcare service will be provided for essential workers and vulnerable kids. Our school is planning to try and run lessons online. It’s an indefinite closure with much talk of this extending into the summer. It will be an interesting trial with homeschooling in mind. Let’s see what works. Let’s see what the optimum learning time is. Let’s see if I can cope. As a single parent, the work shutdown will allow me to fully focus on son and his learning.

Life can often bring much isolation. With the new life motto – ‘Social Distancing’, more are going to have deal with the challenges that it brings. Each one of us has to find our own way of dealing with this. Don’t laugh but walking past this old tree and just giving it a friendly pat can help me. The tree has survived longer and more intense isolation than I ever will. It’s only right that I show solidarity with a fellow survivor.

I went for a walk today and almost didn’t see another soul. Plenty of sheep and crows but so few people. Hardly any cars as well. It just seemed kinda normal. I guess after three years I am getting use to the isolation. Just about. Had to make a few work calls today but that’s going to be it for many weeks now. As people increasingly keep their distance the reality is that the only person I will be physically talking to over the next couple of months will our son. Maybe an occasional telephone call with a sister. That’s why blogging will be so important for me.

I’m someone who has to continually work on my conversation skills these days. Without it I become a gibbering, shy wreck. That’s why I have recently become a crap Dr Doolittle. I am increasingly talking to animals. Not just the mad pets. The birds and squirrels waiting to be fed in the garden. The frog who comes for a warm when the tumble dryer is on. The bee trying to break into the house. The farmers sheep, cows and a grumpy bull. I’m a crap Doolittle as I talk to the poor animals but I still can’t understand what they say back. Probably a good job as I can imagine the responses.

“Will you just sod off”

“Boring, boring”

“Do you mind if I hump your leg”

So on the walk I crouched down to have a chat with a sheep. The local sheep are happy to listen to my waffles as long as I bring some biscuits with me. So I was asking this particular sheep if she ever got bored just walking in the same field and did she like these biscuits . Nearly jumped out of my skin when behind me a booming voice replied.

“If they keep producing the wool for my jumpers I will happily let them eat biscuits. This one likes Digestives, the others are partial to those biscuits .”

I had not heard the farmer sneak up on me. Another day and another …. Oh the shame. But at least I know that I need to bring two types of biscuits on the walks now. All this took place under the a much battered, yet resilient tree.

87 thoughts on “Tree

  1. Oh Gary, the pictures are so beautiful. That tree, standing solitary, battered yet strong is symbolic of the moment. If it can, so can we. The animals and the insects teach us to live in the moment, as each moment calls us to – to positive busyness, to stillness. Yes, this is indeed a dry run to the actual homeschooling. For those of us under Restricted Movement Order, as blogger Sheree pointed out in her post, it is also a dry run to eventual retirement when both spouses must live together all hours of the day.

    This seems to be the Hour of Preparation in so many ways.

    I so like that tree!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. “The tree has survived longer and more intense isolation than I ever will. It’s only right that I show solidarity with a fellow survivor.”
    ~ I love your sentiments. We forget the trees share the Earth with us. As a writer, I’ve been working from home for several years now. My daily walk around our communal courtyard surrounded by garden plots uplifts me. I’ve watched plants struggle with too much heat or cold, and drought conditions. Some wither and die. Yet most adapt and survive to flourish when conditions return to normal. We will, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. One silver lining to this coronavirus crisis is that you’re going to get the chance to try home schooling without having to make the momentous decision to withdraw your son. And you’ve been practicing self-isolation to a large extent for some time now, so you could think of yourself as being ahead of the curve. And … you communicate with a large number of people in the blogosphere on a daily basis, and you’re absolutely brilliant at it! Hang in there. You’ve got this!!

    Liked by 6 people

  4. I laughed out loud. I could just imagine a wide eyed startled look when you heard that voice. It’s a good thing life is full of “funny.” I’m a big fan of trees. I should find that poem where I compared my life to a tree. The scenery does change. I get transplanted from time to time, but I’ve had many tree seasons. I’m still trying to learn to thrive where I’ve been planted. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I went looking for that poem. I couldn’t find it. I bet I got rid of it because it sounded too depressing. I wonder if I could write a more hopeful version of it. That’s something to ponder.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this tree. Ahh, the secrets it could only share. Yes, this isolation is a bit much. Not much we can do. So yes, you will find me on as well. So you have me. To read all your fun, funny, serious lovely posts. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Blogging definitely helps with self-isolation! And talking to animals – now you also know the farmer 😉

    As for school closure, it might be helpful to treat this period of forced home-schooling as a dry run before a long-term decision! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have talked to animals & insects for as long as I can remember.

    That field is GORGEOUS. My view is of neighbors homes and drivers desperately trying to find street parking now that there are even more cars home.

    Last night I heard that at least 1 area, I didn’t hear where, will be automatically advancing students to the next grade in summer. I don’t really think that’s ideal but admit it will prevent a LOT of problems… some who own guns.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Some school districts are trying that but I think it’s universally accepted that it’s not going to work well or be easy to monitor… plenty of kids don’t have computers and now libraries are closing so there are no public resources for them.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Here all the parents had to buy an iPad for school work. Thankfully interest free over 5 years. But they are going to give them a go for it. I just don’t think it’s going to suit my dyslexic lad with Aspergers. Better ways for him, but we will give it a go at least for a day or so.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Heh. Did you think for a split second that the sheep was communicating telepathically?

    That is a gorgeous Ent. How majestic in form and spirit… I’ve talked to my Maple, Dogwood, Crepe Myrtle & Hackberry trees in my yard. They are good listeners and kind hearted.

    This appears to be an opportunity to try out that homeschooling.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. They can’t budget for unknowns, huh?

        My county has one confirmed case.

        I’m not concerned with the virus. I had a nasty flu bug dance back in January 2019 and, I survived septicemia back this past December. My immune system is pretty tough.

        Are all your cases around London?

        Liked by 1 person

  9. The tree has been battered by the elements, yet it still stands… definitely worse for the wear, but it stands, waiting for the next thing.

    The tree shows us we’re going to be okay. Battered and bruised, but still here, waiting for the next trial. We simply have to remember to live between the trials and not for the trials. And sounds like you’re doing that.

    Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. good on you for patting that tree! it’s something i do often, saying hi in passing as well. i figure they have a lot more knowledge , experience and wisdom than any human alive and deserve our notice:)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have a feeling you are one resilient guy and will crack the isolation and the home schooling. At present there is a revolt in our house as I am an NHS worker and my boys are refusing to go to school next week. My husband is a teacher and may be going in so they’ll have to go. Two very surly boys here 😡

    On another note, my email is clairei47@protonmail.com
    If you need human contact and conversation other than with your son then drop me an email. We all need to support each other right now. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I bet it is. We are talking about the schools plan to online school and sticking to the existing class timetable. Going to give to a go but we both fear it will just replicate the existing teaching problems. I guess the kids of key workers at our school will be just using iPads at school to access the online stuff. I just hope with so many fewer kids that they can now space them out more. Thanks. Made a note of the email. We all need to.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I love trees and I love your photo of that heroic tree. Trees are one of my favorite photo object. And I agree, now its even more important than ever to join together via our blogs. And one more thing, I often talk to “my” animals, especially the birds that live in my garden 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Do you think i could borrow some lightening to knock out the tree in downstairs’ garden. Trees here are subject o conservation orders which is fine if people didn’t use that as the stick to beat themselves with having failed fir years to maintain a tree and the council when you ask for a permit at least to chop a bit off look it up on google earth, on a map that is 10 years old. Yep. At last however we have a new person in that house who is for taking this monster down and it is a monster. The chain saw slipped……. Alas

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Those of us who have been through many trials can definitely relate to that tree! “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein is one of my favorite books! It makes me cry every time I read it.
    The isolation is just business as usual. I’ve been on disability for (Dang!) 20 years, I rarely see anyone except Daughters, Ben & the clerks at the corner market🤷🏼‍♀️ I prefer it!
    We’ve got a great group here in the blogosphere! We may never hug in person, but the hugs are available every day, virtually!
    I talk to animals, plants, rocks, myself, the air… who are we to say they aren’t listening?😉💌

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I love trees, myself. Even try sketching them at times, although my drawing skills are sketchy 🙂 Hope you are developing a list of appropriate spelling words for your stint with homeschooling!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hey, we all love to chat and connect; we are social animals. Even introverts enjoy a connection in their own ways. So you keep chatting with the animals and blog all you want. We’ve got to do whatever it takes to stay sane. xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I have the BEST one sided conversations with our dogs. They probably have no idea how awful I am it in real life. Maybe I would be better if my human audience reacted the same way my dogs do. Head to one side, ears perked, slight wag of tail 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Isolation is really difficult to manage and through this period of uncertainty and people self isolating it is really difficult to comprehend how much people will suffer from mental health issues.
    Humans are after all social beings and thrive company and yet today people are avoiding each other, streets are deserted and shops empty but at least we are alive.
    I hope that you and your family all stay safe and well during these difficult times ahead and my thoughts and prayers reach out to you 🙏.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I watch the birds at the feeder. They just carry on as if nothing has changed. They go about their routines scrounging the neighbourhood and then coming back when they need a snack.

    Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

    In this changing world we can find hope just watching the birds.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. LOL – I talk to animals (and plants) all the time, but try to keep it out of my professional life. However, last term another member of staff caught me talking to the spider plant which somehow continues to hang on to life despite artificial light and being next to the photocopier (nemesis of all staff due to it’s capacity to immediately stop working if you have anything important to print)! I wanted to disappear into the ground!

    Liked by 1 person

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