And this is why ash dieback breaks my heart: a sense that while they may be of little import to most of us on the surface, what we lose when they die runs deeper than we know. Many people – most, perhaps – couldn’t identify an ash; and I’ve heard some comment blithely that surely other trees will just grow, it won’t matter, not in the long term.
It matters. Along with their unique physical presence in our landscape, along with the ecological benefits they bring as a major native species, there is a pool of myth and folklore and wisdom and learning and allusion at stake; a deep collective history which is our birthright and which, more than ever right now, can sustain us. Will the next generation even be able to call ash trees to mind – the shape their branches make in winter, the sticky black buds in spring, the sound their leaves make in a warm breeze, the feel of ash keys in the palm – as my parents could the elm?

http://mel-talesofthecity.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/ashes-to-ashes.html

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