But change it has.
A couple of weeks ago Mother nature whipped up a storm. The wind came in un-naturally strong, and from the East, and soon this awsome power from an unfamiliar direction was wrecking havoc. Fences were going down all over the place, and as I drove home from a week away, I could see the floods in the fields and the damage everywhere. It reminded me of the storm of '86 when I awoke in the middle of the night to hear a roaring outside like you would not believe. It was as if a freight train was going by - only it never did. On and on, hour after hour the winds roared, until in the morning they had blown themselves out, and all that was left was devastation. In our part of the world it looked as if an aircraft had ploughed its way through great swathes of ancient forest - we could not get out of our lane for the trees lying in the road. It was months before the sound of chainsaws went away.
I walked the lane at Filliegh a couple of days after our recent gale. Twigs and branches littered the path through the woods and the air smelt fresh and clean. The sun was out and that lovely spring feeling was in the air, with birds celebrating and ewes and lambs lying peacefully in the warming fields. As I crossed the river I saw one of the trees by the bank had gone down. Falling back away from the river, I knew that wind must have been very powerful to take it away from its natural tilt towards the water.
But where was the tall tree? An empty space remained where once stood Life. She was down on the ground, smashed to pieces by the power of the wind and her own awesome strength. Her limbs split open, her roots torn out of the ground by the relentless force of nature. I stood in awe of this catastrophic event. What sounds she must have made as she gave herself up for lost! What groans let out as she let go the life sustaining earth that had nurtured her from seed. I felt a sense of great loss. I still do.
When I looked at the space where once she stood tall, I could see how an easterly wind would have been her downfall. The hills curve down on either side creating a funnel through which an unwelcome wind could gather great strength... and so it did.
As I looked at her broken form, life still showed its gentle face. New, bright green leaves were springing from the ends of her branches. There they were in innocence, happy to greet another day.
Forget not the Grace and Favour of Our Trees - without them we are Lost.