We are surrounded by oaks, on the slopes of the Sydenham ridge, remnants of the Great North Wood which once spread over much of Southeast London. A couple of years ago they felled one of the two which stood in our communal garden. This week they came for the other one. Diseased apparently, a danger, possibly. From our balcony, two floors up, its nearby branches were teeming with life, abuzz with the chatter of birds and squirrels. Its summer canopy shielded us from the sun’s low evening rays, while in all seasons its branches framed our outlook across the city.
While heartbreaking to witness the tree’s demise, I was riveted to the spot while the ropes were secured, and the chainsaw reduced it, limb by limb, before bringing down its trunk with one final cut.
Here are a few of the moon and sunsets the tree witnessed in the last year of its life.