One of the many attractive features of Chigwell is the environment, one hundred acres of beautiful green space so close to London and I am particularly lucky to have an office that overlooks Top Field. Apart from being able to see what is going on at this end of the School, I also get to see the changing colours of the seasons and over the next few weeks the bright green leaves on the trees will start to change as summer turns to autumn. We are very fortunate to have so many grand old trees across the site, which have been established over so many years. Many were here long before us, and will remain long after we’ve gone.
As I have said, trees are vital to our existence. Their photosynthesis compliments our respiration, helping to provide us with the oxygen we need to live, but additionally, trees can offset global warming. It has been suggested that increasing the World’s forest cover by a third would offset the warming effects of a century’s worth of carbon emissions; so at a time when we should be worrying about the impact of human activity on the planet, planting more trees may be a big part of the solution.
The Prince of Wales was once mocked for saying that he talked to his plants and trees. I must admit that I haven’t started to do the same yet, although I have wondered what some of the oldest oak trees around the site might say if they could speak to us. After all, as they stand around the edges of our playing fields, so much has gone on around them for so long, surely they would have some wisdom to impart?
Perhaps they might comment on:
• Pupils who will have nervously begun life here…passed all the way through the school and then, years later, left to go to university
• They will have witnessed moments of what has seemed like an absolute tragedy at the time but then those involved will have gone on to realise that things really aren’t that bad
• And they could have watched those who have seemingly flown through life at school, whilst others have, from time to time, found it all a little more of a struggle but, with help, have come to flourish.
All of this and more will have taken place with those grand old oak trees, the horse chestnuts and the cedars and so many more here long before and long after us; the stories they could tell if only they could speak…but they can’t…or at least I don’t think they can…
But if they could, if they could impart some wisdom to us mere humans who are likely to be around for significantly less time than them, what might they say?
It might be something along the lines of this which I read recently: