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Remembered Today:

A tree hugging ...


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Here (in Flanders) we have people who call themselves "boomknuffelaars". (Is that "tree huggers" in English ?) Anyway, I am not one of them. Not spiritual enough, I'm afraid ...

But this is not about hugging trees, but about a tree hugging ... a grave, a headstone.

 

GWF members who visited Essex Farm Cemetery (between Ypres and Boezinge), may have noticed too. So had I, but I never took a photo. Maybe now, in these bad times, it is the right time ? And also : somehow I found it moving .. "It" ? A tree hugging a headstone .... And it must have been doing that for decades ... Putting a root like a protective arm round the foot of a headstone.

 

The headstone of Soldier Mac Pherson, who no doubt has a good feeling about this ... (Am I a little spiritual after all ?)

 

Aurel

Mac Pherson hugging tree & and 4-11-2020 (1).JPG

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I NEED to go photograph this myself... 

I saw something on the telly about the tree huggers... they're not only in Flanders, they have them in the Ardennes also... ah well, whatever makes them happy... 

 

but this is great! no need to be spiritual to "get" this special bond. 

 

M.

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There is a similar hugged stone in Maroc Cemetery, I will see if I can find a photo.

 

Michelle 

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Found it 

D300F2DA-13A5-46DA-B78A-F80471FA8710.jpeg

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Brilliant Aurel, thanks, and appreciation to Michelle for the follow up.

 

Pete.

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Looking at the old photos I have of the cemetery ...

I see the trees were planted there already before the portland headstones were erected. There is one photo taken in 1925 where I think I can see the "headstone hugger" a long time before he even made hugging plans ... But I am not sure if the trees in 1925 were already planted near the southern end of the cemetery, i.e. near the viaduct. Mac Pherson's grave is III. H. 2, which is the southernmost row but four. But as that 1925 photo is one of the collection of that famous Ypres photographer, maybe I'd better not post it.

 

So you'll have to do with this one, from the magazine "Thirty Years After". As you can read : taken 1924. It shows two young trees nearer to the entrance. If the headstone hugging tree is from the same generation, then we can assume it must be (almost ?) exactly 100 years old ? I have always known the Essex Farm Cemetery trees, well, from 1971, half a century ago, and I don't think these present ones ever replaced predecessors ...

 

Aurel

ESSEX FARM CEM 1924 ts.jpg

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One more photo of the headstone hugger ...

Actually in the first place because after my previous posting I suddenly wondered : can that tree really be one century old ? I am not a tree expert, but somehow I am becoming self-critical ...

Any GWF member who knows ? Maybe a ... tree hugger ?   :-)

Or maybe someone who has an Essex Farm Cemetery photo from the 1950s or 1960s that may show that the present trees are the second generation (which would make them only half a century old) ?

 

Aurel

Mac Pherson hugging tree & and 4-11-2020 (3).JPG

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Excellent Aurel. Just one thing bothers me, what does Madame Sercu think of you branching out (pardon the pun) into photographing trees?

 

Send my best wishes whatever the answer is.

 

Pete.

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Pete,

I showed her the photo and she did not have much comment. Which disappointed me, as I had expected some sort of enthusiasm. I also had to explain to her where Essex Farm Cemetery is (!). Which disappointed me again. And then she left. Don't know where she is now. Outside ? I'd better go and have a look. She may be ... hugging one of our (few) trees ! Which would ... disappoint me a third time in an hour !   :-)

 

Aurel

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Wonderful to see nature embracing the past in such a poignet way, thanks for posting Aurel, I suppose a future question may be 'what is removed first? the tree or the headstone?  I have hugged a tree from time to time and I'm sure Prince Charles is a well known 'boomknuffelaar' amongst other things...

 

2 hours ago, Aurel Sercu said:

Pete,

I showed her the photo and she did not have much comment. Which disappointed me, as I had expected some sort of enthusiasm. I also had to explain to her where Essex Farm Cemetery is (!). Which disappointed me again. And then she left. Don't know where she is now. Outside ? I'd better go and have a look. She may be ... hugging one of our (few) trees ! Which would ... disappoint me a third time in an hour !   :-)

 

Aurel

 

I understand... but Mrs Dubaya is a keen gardener and tree lover... from Essex... for once there was a glimmer of interest...

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That's amazing! Another good reason to protect Mother Nature all the more ...

Well done, Aurel.

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going through my pics in search of a good B&W one, I found this tree hugger from Menenwald... 

 

D94A0097.JPG.cfc3772b98944c2f91c28769162af5c8.JPG

 

M.

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Marilyne,

This sure was a very intense 'hug' !

 

Yesterday I spoke to gardeners in Essex Farm Cemetery. And when I asked how old they thought the tree was, without knowing why I was interested, one spontaneously said : 100 years old I would say. (And they named it too : Tilia Cordata. (In English lime tree ? linden tree ?) )

 

Meanwhile I found that some time one out of two trees must have been removed, as the crown must have become to wide. (Now that row near the road has 9 trees. On old photos I count more I think.

 

And ... I think I will take steps, after a while ago the Menin Gate chestnut tree got the award Tree of the Year, to nominate the Essex Farm Cemetery hugger as Tree of the Year 2021 !  :-)

 

Aurel

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Me too (in Flemish or Walloon as necessary, or both).

 

Pete.

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