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Friday, July 29, 2011

A Tree For Norway



On Wednesday as I sat under the  soothing dappled shade of my Norway maple, I happened upon an excellent  article in The Times by Michael Morpurgo entitled "For The People of Norway" in which he wove  the recent  tragedy  with the story of  Beowulf and Grendel and the eternal battle between good and evil.

As the first  early weak leaves of autumn's riches began to fall on me, I picked one up and  and ruminated on the  Christmas tree that Norway has sent to Trafalgar Square every year since 1947
 to help us bring light to the all enveloping  darkness of winter. It is  a gift of gratitude for Britain's support during  World War II when 
Crown Prince Olav and King Haakon VII were evacuated to Scotland and then taken to London where both they and the  Norwegian government  lived in exile.

Every autumn the  Lord Mayor of Westminster visits Oslo  to take part in the felling of the tree and the Mayor of Oslo then comes over to London to light the tree at the Christmas ceremony. 
This year will be the most moving in our auld alliance.
As the sun moved around the garden I then moved to the sheltered canopy of one of the majestic limes that stand sentinel  at the bottom of our garden. In ancient Germanic cultures, this was considered the tree of justice and peace, important decisions  and judgements were made underneath its shade as  it was believed that the tree would unearth truth.
Some may think of it as sending coal  to Newcastle but I could not help but be moved by the campaign on Twitter for us to stand in support of our Northern European neighbours and gift them a tree of ours to be planted on the island of Utoya.
The mighty oak, sacred to Thor,  would be my suggestion, for that which is whispered in the susurrus  of its wind driven  branches: Stand Sure.

Twitter campaign: hashtag#atreefornorway





37 comments:

  1. Hello Tabitha:
    What a very fitting moment to reflect on the gift each year of a Christmas Tree from the people of Norway to this country.

    We wonder, rather sadly, how many people these days are aware of this symbolic gesture? We suspect too few.

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  2. I didn't know the story about the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square. It's a lovely tradition.
    And I'm all for a tree for Norway, I'm off to tweet...

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  3. Well written. Have an nice weekend!

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  4. Hello, Tabitha.
    I didn't know about the tree tradition between the UK and Norway either. The idea of giving an oak tobe planted on Utoya is a beautiful extension of that tradition.
    Thank you for this post, have a lovely weekend.
    Chriss

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  5. Dear Tab, what a lovely post. I will away now and read MMorpurgo piece - adore his writing. It seems at least some of the foul craziness in the madman's head was of British export - so shameful - it would be wonderful to send Norway something beautiful xxx

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  6. Chelsea Girl29 July 2011 08:46

    The last line brought a tear to my eye.

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  7. What a thoughtful and informative post. Thank you.

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  8. Tabitha, a really beautiful post. Fifi

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  9. Wow! what a lovely post Tabitha. You have such a poetic way of writing Please put me out of my misery, are you a professional writer, and do you live in a castle in Scotland? I have visions of you like Rapunzel, with your gorgeous hair flowing from a turret somewhere in Bonnie Scotland ;-) It's just the perception I've gleaned :-)

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  10. A beautiful post. I have loved trees for as long as I can remember. They are big old ones are majestic, beautiful, and wise.

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  11. Vanessa: I don't even hava a turret to call my own, I used to write years ago but not anymore, I'm more of a bum in a slum these days. ;)

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  12. LInda C : Me too, I couldn't have said it better.

    Jamtart: I just love that name of yours!

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  13. Wow, what a house... It looks like the trees are growing right through it

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  14. This is a beautiful post and very moving. I did not know about the gift of the Christmas tree or the story behind it. I was really saddened by the events in Norway. I can't imagine the agony of the parents of those young people, to have sent them to camp, and never to see them again. A return gift of an oak tree would be a most fitting gesture.

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  15. Thanks for sharing. Such a beautiful sentiment. xo

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  16. Lovely post Tabs. What a beautiful tradition the gift of a Christmas tree is, to return one would be fitting.
    The mighty oak to Stand Sure? That gave me chills!
    Have a great weekend.

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  17. That is beautiful Tabitha - you are a very special woman - thank you x

    http://fashionandfrank.blogspot.com/

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  18. Beautiful. I was unaware of this, thank you so much for writing about it!

    PvdH -designer and illustrator

    www.ThePvdHJournal.com

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  19. Beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing, Tabitha. I had no idea about this story. I will have to tell my J, who is of Norwegian decent, all about it.

    Have a wonderful weekend! xoxo

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  20. Thank you for writing this lovely post.

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  21. This is such a moving post. I do think trees are powerful symbols.

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  22. What a lovely and moving post Tabitha. Thank you for sharing this.

    Have a "wonderful and beginning of Autumn for you" weekend.

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  23. Tabitha, thank you for such a thoughtful post. The planting of trees is such a symbolic act and an oak for Utoya just seems like the right thing to do.

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  24. Beautiful sentiments in light of the recent tragedy Tabitha. I love considering the deeper meaning of what these trees mean and like your choice of the Oak.

    xo Mary Jo

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  25. Tabitha,

    What a lovely and informative post. I was not aware of the Christmas Tree tradition from Norway. The Mighty Oak is a wonderful suggestion...Stand Sure. I'm so glad to have read this today.

    annie

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  26. What a poignant post...
    sending a mighty oak sounds like a good place to start.
    It's difficult to know what to do in response to such a devastating event.

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  27. Beautiful and meaningful post. What a tragedy!! I love the history, which I didn't know. And an oak is a perfect choice - strong and proud!!

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  28. This is a beautiful post and a very touching tribute.

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  29. Your intelligence shines through with this very elegant post. Thank you.

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  30. I too wasn't aware of this special tradition...you've enlightened us all Tabitha, and touched our hearts even more so for Norway. It would be the most wonderful gesture to give them the strength of a gifted tree...and a Mighty Oak would be absolutely perfect. It would be a powerful reminder that they are not alone.
    xo J~

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  31. Tabitha, such an enlightening post. Thank you for this. I love your suggestion of planting an oak on the isle of Utoya. If they have trouble finding an oak sapling, may I suggest a Ginkgo tree. It can live to 3,000 yrs.Its leaves has medicinal uses.It can survive drought, freezing temps and heavy rainfall.
    Your garden sounds delightful can I come over when I need to escape a stressful day?
    Helen xx

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  32. Didn't Mr Bean steal the Norwegian tree one year?

    Yes, I'm with you for an Oak; it's Britain's iconic tree.

    (p.s. I was at prep' school with MM. Lovely guy)

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  33. Cro Magnon: Were you? I love his writing.

    Mr Bean - did he? I just remember that sad Twiglet Xmas Hogmanay party he had!

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  34. I do hope that this idea of the Oak will come about so appropriate with our ties to Norway.Ida

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  35. Beautiful thoughts and post. I think your choice of the oak is very inspired. :)
    Ada

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  36. I did know about the Christmas tree but the oak would be wonderful. Great post xx

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