Suddenly it was gone. The tree where, with a helping hand from school friends, my daughter had learnt to climb a tree had been chopped down.
At the end of the school day, after bags were dumped and coats stripped off, it was the place kids gathered to take it in turns to climb. It was the tree where they’d take the first tentative steps gradually gaining the confidence to climb higher.
All that is left of this tree is a stump. This unremarkable tree in many ways was truly remarkable for getting kids into tree climbing – something that we’re programmed to do thanks to evolution. Admittedly the tree wasn’t in great shape but it played a seminal moment in the childhood memories of lots of kids. It was THE place where they learnt to climb and feel that massive sense of achievement as they make it to the first rung of branches and then gradually they’re starting to climb higher.
The loss of this tree leaves a big gap in the green where the kids play. Older more mature trees survive helpfully set up with rope swings but they aren’t conducive to climbing; the branches start too high up the trunk and it feels a little bit too intimidating for that first climb.
I asked my daughter about this loss and she was sad – she wanted to climb higher and explore more of the tree – eventually graduating on to bigger and more challenging trees.
It came as a shock when I found out the tree had gone: one minute is was there, the next it was gone, with no obvious explanation. There might be some logical reason for it being felled but it doesn’t ease that sense of loss for a place where kids gathered to learn the art of climbing trees.