Lockdown – July 2020
I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.
These are the first two lines of a poem by 19th century American poet, Joyce Kilmer. I have been reminded of this poem during the past few months of lockdown when the highlight of many of our days has been exploring the parks and countryside around Enfield.
Enfield’s green spaces were a big part of our decision to move here from Hackney almost 40 years ago but in recent years we have often neglected them and travelled instead into Central London to visit the museums and art galleries.
People who live near our wonderful National Parks or magnificent coast would probably argue that suburban London isn’t real countryside. In some ways, I feel the green spaces in areas such as Enfield are just as remarkable. That sounds a bold claim, but to have Trent Park, Hillyfields, Forty Hall and Whitewebbs within about 10 miles of the City of London is indeed a remarkable thing.
I have found that during a woodland walk, marvelling at the incredible variety of trees and plants and listening to the constant bird song, is like being enveloped in a comforting green blanket wherethe anxiety and stress of Coronavirus are part of a different reality. When our lockdown walks first started we could do a walk without hearing a car but as time progressed the noise of traffic became more insistent on many of our walks; no matter, the forest retained its calming magic.
Joyce Kilmer’s poem ends:
Poems are made by fools like me But only God can make a tree.
Our lockdown experience has shown us both the beauty of nature and, through the sacrifices people have made for others, the beauty of the human spirit. Perhaps neither can be fully explained by the laws of science and logic.