Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Old Ones and the Young Ones

In one week, I'll be going home.

I say this to myself, not to take me out of the experience of being here now, but as a reminder to listen. Which pathways are most calling to me to be explored?

I went back to Richmond Park yesterday, to meet more Old Ones and to perhaps discover where both deer herds roamed. And to invite this beautiful, strange place to take up residence within, so it will always be part of me...and I, of it.

It was a bank holiday, so there were many more visitors to the park than the last time I went. Most people were respectful of the lands, wildlife and other people. Some visitors, inevitably, were not. It is not the sort of park where there are litter bins, toilets and park wardens at every turn, so some take that as an excuse to leave their picnic trash behind or encourage their children to harass the deer. It is discouraging and upsetting to witness disrespect for the wild passed from parent to child.

Red deer herd... 

...being chased by two different boys from two sides with the encouragement of their fathers.
(I shouted at them to stop bothering the deer. Which they did for the amount of time it took for them to
move out of shouting range, then they continued to harass them. The poor creatures were breathing heavily
 and becoming quite frantic.)

But there must be many more parents, surely, who take their children to the park to teach them love and appreciation for nature, and to model right action. The British overall seem to value and honor their wild spaces and their ancient trees. And while climbing these trees is also against park regulations, for very good reasons, children care nothing for such rules unless their parents explain to them that these beings are very, very old, like great-great-grandfathers and grandmothers, and tender care must be taken to protect them.

The thing is, the children are drawn to these hoary historians like bees to flowers, running from one to the next, engaged with the life of the trees and maybe developing a lifelong love for them. They actively engage with that which they love.

So that is the bright spot amidst all the worries I felt...the Old Ones have survived centuries of wild storms, lightning, fire, war, pollution, disease, infestation, and their branches being pollarded and coppiced and broken off entirely. I hope they will take no harm in being climbed upon occasionally by very young ones, who may come to revere them someday.


  1. I so much love these photos. I'm really sad to hear of parents encouraging their children to harass the deer :-( In the same way I used to be sad when at the playground, when parents would cheer on their children chasing pigeons and other birds. Such disrespect for other living creatures - including their own children, to encourage callousness and meanness in them too.

    But anyway, the park is beautiful and the trees are majestic and I love what you shared of them.

    1. Thank you. Everywhere I turned was a photograph, really...it is a very photogenic place. And I too feel for the pigeons...lots of those in London!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...