A tree in Kew Gardens

So this is it. The house is packed and the round of farewells is complete. We are about to sleep in our house of twenty years for the last time and our current thinking is we probably won’t return to live here again (we can’t bear the idea of all that unpacking!). Too late to do anything about the things we meant to sort out before we left, too late for regrets.

There is an ancient tree in Kew Gardens that was lifted out of the ground by the hurricane in 1987 and bizarrely was dumped back in the hole again by the wind. Because it hadn’t fallen over, and with 700 other fallen tress to deal with, the authorities decided dealing with it was a lower priority. After a few years they noticed a strange phenomenon. The tree, which before the storm they had thought had reached the end of its natural life as it had stopped producing new stems, was once again full of life. The lifting of the roots had loosened the compacted soil around the base of the tree allowing oxygen and nutrients to get to the roots once again. The received wisdom now is to inject air and nutrients into the base of trees to keep them healthy and to keep the ground around the tree looser.

So how do we keep the soil loose around our own ‘roots’? Yes, we may not all be able to up sticks and travel, especially in certain seasons of our lives, but not-getting-entrenched is an attitude of mind that we need to cultivate one way or another, otherwise the life gets squeezed out of us! Holding onto what we have more lightly and being prepared for change seems to be a pre-cursor to growing new shoots.

A celebratory cuppa on board ‘Hope’ to which we will return next March

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22 Comments on “A tree in Kew Gardens”

  1. What a wonderful message! Praying that your trip will be all you wished for and a whole lot more. Safe travels xx

  2. What a beautiful story of new life and the need to cultivate and nurture new beginnings! A little loosening now and again is good for us all !
    Have a wonderful time both of you! I’m sure you will embrace this new stage in your lives despite the sadness of leaving your home.
    Here’s to new beginnings and great adventures!

  3. Such a beautiful picture … Love reading your wise words! Now it’s time for new growth and new adventures! Praying that despite the sadness and possible uncertainty you will both be nurtured into a new garden where fruit will grow in abundance!
    Love you both xx

  4. Enjoy! And may your new shoots start sprouting soon. In fact I think they probably already have!

    Looking forward to following your adventures.

  5. A lovely, thought-provoking and grown-up piece as a foreword to your grown-up gap year.

    This week I have been retro-blogging a fair bit about my young adulthood, which has been making me realise how much new experiences, good and bad, help us to grow in so many ways.

    Well writ, Ian, well writ.

  6. Travel safely, make memories, and stay rooted and grounded in His love. Looking forward to hearing about all the adventures x

  7. We hope you’ve packed enough tea bags to last until your return! Looking forward to following your journey.

  8. Just found your blog – Yay!
    LOVE this post. That feeling of having packed up all your worldly goods is bizarre – scary, but also extremely liberating! It is amazing how you can get by, no actually, live fully, with just a little ‘stuff’.
    So excited for you both in your ‘gap year’ and to see and hear how God is directing you to your next turn in the path. (Also really looking forward to seeing you end Dec!!).
    Have a great time in HK and on the NI.
    A xx

  9. Excellent blog and I recall you giving me similar advice a couple of years ago which has helped put into perspective my current situation – hold things lightly – even your home. Safe and travels and look forward to reading your next blog.

  10. Great blog! Really looking forward to hearing more inspiring stories as you are both lead down the path God has pre-arranged. Happy Gap Year!

  11. I was reading this while listening to a “Cinematic Epic” music playlist, and it just seemed to fit the mood of your words perfectly. Loving that T-shirt too.

  12. Such an amazing picture, and encouraging for all of us. Enjoy your adventure both of you. Looking forward to hearing your updates. God bless. X

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