“Trees're always a relief, after people.”
I love trees. They are beautiful, mysterious, strong, vulnerable, nurturing, enigmatic, fascinating, unpredictable, reassuring., evocative, atmospheric, infinitely beguiling—and dangerous. They are most certainly moody. Life wouldn’t be worth living without them.
But surely you are writing about women?
Actually, I’m writing about trees—things with roots and bark and sap and wood and branches and leaves—but I take the point. I have never really thought of it before, but though trees and women are entirely dissimilar in some fundamental ways—they share many attributes.
As with so many things, I have my grandmother to thank for my love of trees. In her normal impractical way (especially given that her farm on the Wicklow coast was some miles from the nearest town) she never learned to drive—but she had an admirer, Mr. Byrnes, who was something senior in Ireland’s Forestry Commission. Accordingly, Mr. Byrnes would take us on trip to various forests which featured older growth and the more spectacular hardwoods—and I would be taken along to chaperone my grandmother and to learn to appreciate forestry.
I was a willing pupil and was positively awed by what I saw.
My grandmother would have been in her forties about that time—and wasn’t overtly sexual in any way, as best I can recall, but she was a handsome woman and did have admirers. But, she remaindered wedded to my grandfather’s memory. Theirs was a short marriage, but an exceedingly happy one.
And so I learned to love trees. It has been an entirely rewarding relationship.