Sometimes Even The Trees Can’t Fight, But Don’t Stop Hoping…

I was introduced to digging young…

I like digging. Odd maybe, but as soon as we acquired our first garden I knew where my strengths lay – not for me the fancy-dan designer stuff and certainly not the intimate knowledge of plants species – I have as much of a blind spot to plant names as I do to the parents of my children’s old classmates.

our first garden; yep I dug it all

How many times have I bumped into that familiar-faced individual who greets me with a cheery ‘Geoff, how are you? And [blah -inset child name]?’ To which I mumble a cheesy response and desperately search for clues as to (a) their name (b) the name of their child. This situation is made infinitely worse if I am with someone who doesn’t know them. But decades of these embarrassing interactions have let me develop a whole host of strategies: ‘Do you two know each other?’ accompanied by a relaxed raising of an eyebrow that offers the two to either admit they do (and perhaps say a name to help me) or, if that fails, I will add: ‘This is [blah – add name of person I am with, assuming I can actually remember that].” Not foolproof but works seven out of ten.

the beach at Covehithe; evidence of some erosion in the lines on the sand

Anyway, back on digging, getting sweaty and focused on some grinding physical work clears my head like nothing else. And the pinnacle of this digging fixation is the redoubtable tree root. Now, don’t get me wrong; I love trees and  the gratuitous removal of a tree is a thing of pain and regret. But there are times when a tree has to go and then there’s the root.

Southwold pier in the distance; Dog watching a gull

In my time I’ve dug out a fair few, some with surprising ease and some which have defied me for days. But the victory is always mine and the challenge is something I do revel in. It’s like a tough crossword or intransigent splinter; when you dig out the answer/piece of wood it’s with both relief and a degree of satisfaction.

Which, when you contextualise it, makes the walk I took the other day, along the Suffolk coast near a small hamlet of Covehithe, just a few miles north of Southwold, all the more poignant. This coast is, mostly, the subject of some violent and devastating erosion – longshore drift, I believe – that is eradicating a significant part of the county. There are parts where the land is growing as a result of this drift –  less than  twenty miles south the shingle bar of Orford Ness – a cuspate, technically – continues to grow at a pretty considerable rate.

the cliffs, fighting their losing battle

But here the cliffs are falling with a tedious and painful regularity and with them come trees, dead sentinels of a past healthy life and as sad a sight as any.

It’s the curious juxtaposition that makes this walk so poignant. The light, colours, lack of crowds, all add to the positives. Dog loves a good beach too. And the roots, brittle bleached bones, create a pictorial scene that the camera can’t always do justice too.

I spent a bit of time staring at the cliff, at the next victim waiting for the moment when the sea and the wind and the rain undermines its tenacious yet tenuous hold on its place in the scene. I thought of other roots whose resistance had been hard and determined and felt sad that these had no chance in this fight. Why did it feel insidious and unfair? I don’t know but it did.

Like life sometimes. Whatever you do, however hard you try, and through not fault of your own, you’re just n the wrong place at the wrong moment and as a result you slip down the cliff. You’d fight if you could, but here, you’re not given that chance. Bum.

As we circled back to the car, we came across this.

Looks like a tropical rain forest from a drone. In fact it’s a field of parsley. In England. Outdoors. In December. I wasn’t expecting that. Sort of cheered me up a bit. I can still be surprised, see. And that’s good. Life’s good when it surprises you. A hope, after all, is an anticipated surprise, and we all need hope.

Cue final pictures of cute Dog…

Merry Christmas everyone….

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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33 Responses to Sometimes Even The Trees Can’t Fight, But Don’t Stop Hoping…

  1. Ritu says:

    Merry Christmas 🎄 His Geoffleship to you and all your family 🎅


  2. Happy Christmas, Geoff, Dog, and parsley forest.


  3. I am also surprised by all that greenery in England in December. I believe there has been no snow to date. My mom says that is not unusual.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. arlingwoman says:

    It’s interesting how the earth’s dynamic systems keep reshaping things all the time. Coastlines change, rivers meander, mountains weather down. I loved the light in the photos, and of course, any picture of Dog is a good one. The parsley forest would have been the crown to my trip as well. It’s good to be surprised and better when the surprise is a delight. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy Christmas, Geoff. I love digging too. It’s quite therapeutic. I still dig whenever possible. Some trees need to be laid to rest but I have always planted 3 for each one that had to come down.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. davidprosser says:

    As a young man I dug holes too. They were meant to be of various shapes and sizes but somehow always ended up round which is odd because a spade naturally leads you to straight sides.
    Have a fantastic Christmas Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      There is something in that whole hole shape thing. I think holes have round personalities and naturally circumference when under construction. Have a grand Christmas and hope you’re going to bounce grandchildren on knees and other parts. See you in the New Year David

      Liked by 1 person

  7. willowdot21 says:

    I am in love with you Dog, you are so handsome….. Love Ruby.
    Ps. willow says nice post 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Entertaining, informative, and so well written. Hope you all have a great Christmas

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s always sad when you see trees fighting a losing battle against the forces of water and earth movement. It kind of reminds me of us humans and our stand against the passing of time…… Mylo looks sandy and happy in those final shots. Siddy is off to the beach today as we are promised a wee taste of summer for a change and it’s the youngest’s birthday……. Fields of parsley would make me very happy any time of the year. Happy Christmas Geoff to you and all the other Pards xo.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Cute dog for sure. I’m a little confused about digging out a garden. Here in the colonies we just turn over the soil and plant. Why dig it out? Where does the dug out stuff go? Man, I need to understand all this. Lovely parsley.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Well, the garden in question had been used as a dump of different sorts for over 100 years. Vegetable waste, builders detritus, all sorts. When that house was built they didn’t have refuse collections so burnt a lot of their rubbish or just dumped it. A lot would have been cultivated too. So by the time we got there the soil was fantastic but full of every sort of stuff – glass, wood, bits of brick, metals, plastics since they were invented. I dug evert foot to a depth of two foot and sieved it all, taking out the large lumps and keeping the tilth. I then respread it around having relevelled the garden in terraces. Took me best part of a year to do, after work and at weekends…. then, when we did what you do – dug a joke and stuck in a plant, it grew. Loved every sweaty back breaking minute….

      Liked by 1 person

  11. You have a devious sense of whimsy, Geoff. Taking us on a full circle of emotions with this post. Yes, it’s sad to see trees like that… so poignant. I never thought to see a field of parsley of all things. So bright and green and lively. And of course to end with merrily smiling dog. A fine Christmas story you made. Happy holiday hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mary Smith says:

    A bitter sweet post, Geoff – Mylo and the parsley being the sweet parts. He’s a gorgeous dog and clearly knows just how photogenic he is. That parsley bears no relationship to the miserable stuff sold in bags in the supermarket, which I refuse to buy.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Mick Canning says:

    And a very merry Christmas to you, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Rowena says:

    Thanks for sharing this walk with us. Dog is quite the philosopher and to the best of my knowledge, hasn’t written a post as yet. Or, did I just miss it? He looks like he has a lot to say.
    I thought I’d dig up an old post I wrote about erosion at our local beach which is ongoing. It seems the sand is being deposited in the channel between Ettalong and Palm Beach and they’ve had to clear it with a dredger and much political pressure thanks to the usual situation of no one wanting to foot the bill and it bouncing in between the local council and State govt.
    This reminds me that I need to start doing more beach walks. Yet, there’s always so much to do and so much to write about and those words don’t rite themselves!
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

  15. JT Twissel says:

    I’m in California where green is the color of December. Dog is such a patient model. A very happy holiday season for you and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Widdershins says:

    I was thinking of something on a lot larger scale than the ‘umble parsley … nicely done. 😀
    Merry Christmas to you and all you hold dear. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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