Hidden Trees and Weeds | The Interstitial Jesus


WildwoodI have been reading, sitting quietly with, meditating on Richard Deakin’s wonderful book, Wildwood – A Journey Through Trees. Having previous written of his swims around England, this book is simply a series of reflections on the transformative power of this ‘fifth element’. Much of it is taken with stories of sleeping out in the middle of woodland, fully engaged with and alive to the busyness of this environment.

There are a number of things that I want to blog about from it, but, to begin with, the book has simply opened my eyes to an new appreciation of our forests. I spent yesterday out in the Surrey hills, which Deakin mentions (he died almost a year ago to the day) and it was wonderful to read the book in the very environment it spoke of.

But it was when traveling back into London by train that the book gave me a wonderful insight: there are scattered forests everywhere along our railways. These inbetween spaces, tucked safely between dangerous high-voltage rails, are havens for all manner of plant life. And with the plants, animal life too. I was surprised to learn recently that the best honey the UK has to offer is made in London. Why? Because London has such high bio-diversity, and thus the bees carry a rich mix of flavours into their hives. In the countryside, where much of the land is given over to industrial agriculture, the honey is bland.

Those who have read here before will know about the allotment that a few of us keep, and this is one sort of ‘hidden land’ that excites me about the city. But it was only traveling through Clapham Junction, East Croydon and London Bridge that I began to see that there are huge acreages of small clumps of trees and bushes, all living with no threat from mankind. All growing in the gaps that our developments have left. All working their quiet transformations of our air, our ecology, our sight.

And I can’t help but think that, hidden away in these places, an interstitial Jesus is camping. Quietly working. Beyond our boundaries, and in places we simply miss as we glide along rails in steel carriages. I need to look more closely.


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One response to “Hidden Trees and Weeds | The Interstitial Jesus”

  1. Speaking of trees and their relationship to human beings please check out this unique understanding.
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