Sea or Trees?

CIMG2085When we came to visit my Mum in June, when the sea was looking particularly calm and serene and the landscape was bathed in sunshine, I asked her if she ever regretted being in that location, so far away from most of the family. She thought about it briefly and said she did miss the presence of trees, but on balance she would still rather be here (hmm, didn’t mention family, who have to travel up to 500 miles to visit…). Faced with the choice of sea or trees, the Golfer and I immediately knew we would choose trees.

Trees are sparse on many if not all of the Inner and Outer Hebridean islands because of their exposed positions, and many a tree or garden plant has been devastated instantly by a sudden blast from an icy and salt laden north or easterly or Atlantic strength westerly gale although sheltered areas often have a completely different microclimate. My parents rescued a tiny larch from the roadside soon after they came  here 25 years ago and this has survived in the garden but with the periodic loss of limbs to frostbite, and has succumbed to the usual covering of lichen that appears to be the norm in this area. Every spring (late, here) it delights as the insanely fresh green new leaves open in sharp contrast to the greyness of the surrounding twigs. The rowan, another local native, arrived uninvited and has several relatives in the vicinity, the birds helping themselves to the sporadic berry bounty and leaving their calling card. It occurs to me as I write this that it is a long time since I have made rowan jelly, since having my own garden and produce has rendered picking from the wild unnecessary, whilst my Mum wonders about making jelly to reduce the rowan’s progeny….


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12 Responses to Sea or Trees?

  1. Pauline says:

    Lots of trees down here are covered in lichen, I thought it showed that the air was clean and pure. Give me trees any day, they have their own special magic and are vital to the wildlife foodchain. I have never tried Rowan jelly, must give it a go when my little tree grows big enough, it came courtesy of the bird population I think!

  2. I love reading about the landscapes where you live and visit. I’m not sure I’d like the area your Mum lives in either, but then I don’t like the one I live in either and have found saving garden graces. I’ve never heard of Rowan Jelly but would love to try some. One of the things that grow so well in our hot and nasty climate is jalapeno peppers. They are very hot but in spite of that a very tasty jelly can be made with them. Thanks for your posts. Each and every one of them has brightened my day. Blessings, Natalie

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you Natalie and I am so sorry you don’t like where you live – is it just the climate? Why don’t you put out the intention for positive changes in your life, including a change of home….. ps I didn’t say I didn’t like where my Mum lived, just that I wouldn’t choose it for myself! pps the pepper jelly sounds interesting, but is it still hot?

  3. Hannah says:

    My initial instinct was to go for sea…but now I’m not so sure….

  4. Anna says:

    Think that I’m greedy Cathy and would like both if given the choice 🙂 Have never tested rowan jelly either. Must see if I can find some somewhere though I feel it might be a challenge.

    • Cathy says:

      And what else would you like along with your trees and your sea…? is it a long list?! When there are redcurrants and other berries to make jelly from I don’t think I would bother with rowan jelly 😉

  5. Annette says:

    You remember, I wrote about this longing, a type of genetic information, the landscape we carry in ourselves? I’d always prefer hills and trees 🙂

  6. have a lovely time with your mum Cathy, I thought the one thing I would miss would be trees but I’ve found it interesting that I don’t, then again I do have a small copse of conifers on my feu and Lews castle grounds has quite a few trees and a good variety too, so I am luckier than your mum, as to missing family, well I never saw much of my children even when they lived near me, always too busy (with their friends), so I find being away makes it easier as I can use the excuse it’s because I live so far, I do the travelling to see them too, not the other way about,

    we have actually changed places Cathy because I’m writing this from Sussex as I’m staying at my sons and what I dislike about ‘down here’ is the overcrowdedness every where, too many cars, lorries etc. too many people, ughhhh , the 40somethings are away so my grandsons and I are have a quite day, Frances

    • Cathy says:

      Ironic that we have travelled in opposite directions, Frances. My Mum has never been one for travelling, mainly because she lived away from home so much as a child I think, so my sisters and I are quite dutiful in our visits particularly since since our dad died in 2000 and as she has got older (87 now). I don’t see my girls very often but Elder Daughter will phone or text at least once a week and Younger Daughter who still lives locally always responds immediately if I text her but admits she is rubbish at keeping in touch – I suspect girls are better than boys in that respect. Hope you enjoy your stay and tolerate the people and the traffic for a little while – did you go down by train? Take care, Cathy

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