How to Hug Trees & Other Secrets (2006)

Writer's Note

Not so long ago, I went to stay in a very old house beside a forest. At night the creak and rustle of the trees came in the windows. When I lay in bed I could see the old wooden beams of the ceiling, all rough and some of them still with bits of bark on. As I lay there one night I noticed a moth hiding on the bark of a beam. It must’ve fluttered straight from a tree in the forest to this bit of tree in the house. It obviously felt quite at home, and somehow, so did I.

Once, this island where we live was covered with forest. All the high streets, swimming pools, motorways, airports and playgrounds were covered with gently waving trees. Our ancestors lived whole lives under their branches for thousands of years. Then clearings were cut and houses were built with the cut down trees.

Now, most of the forest has gone from the land and lots of us live in double-glazed, terraced houses in Maple Roads and Cedar Drives, never having felt further from our woodland days. But if you look round your room you’ll see that the chairs, tables, pencils in pots, the doorknobs, floorboards, the beams of the roof, even the paper from which you’re reading now… are all made of wood! Listen hard and you might hear the creak and rustle of gently swaying trees not so very far away after all…

Daniel Jamieson

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