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The Tisbury Yew


Before that man Jesus was born, this tree was old. Druids danced around it at the solstice and the ancestors of hippies sacrificed beansprouts and tofu beneath its spreading branches. It could well be that 1,000 years before Christianity existed, it was old. Today a church built in 600AD old stands beyond those roots which could well have spread for 4,000 years. Confused?

That nobody has determined it's precise age, even within two thousand years, is perfect. How wonderful there are still mysteries in this world where everything is categorised, logged and stored on a chip. Chips, so recent an invention, will they, will humans, still be here when this tree shots its last leaf? It has survived storms, wars, even development projects and it stands defiant to all that is human, outstripping us in many ways, yet dependent on our goodwill.

I'm not sure why, but I felt something profound as I stood admiring it. Was this awe? Sensing time reaching back so far? Touched by my own mortality? Frail beside its strength and expansive lifespan? My wife leaned back into its ancient bark as we wondered if we and everyone one else on earth will be long forgotten when, if all continues as is in this spot of rural England, the Tisbury yew continues to stand.

Earlier, we'd admired cherry blossoms which won't last the week. How short life. Absorbing such profound thoughts, in a cafe near by we ate chocolate cake. Though our time is brief, we'll enjoy it whilst we can, but we need to better respect nature which produces trees older than written history.


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