Junction 38 Tree. 10 years old
Ten years ago to the day (28.12.2006) I got the help of a friend to drive me out to a grassy island at the motorway junction on the border of South and West Yorkshire, to plant an oak sapling. It was for the aide of a project I was undertaking in my final year of my degree, to plant trees as a statement. For a held belief that more forested land (town and country) would be an essential factor in a survivable, and enjoyable, 21st century world.
I guess that belief is still there, but the fresh- faced idealism isn’t. I’m much more of a depressed idealist these days – who still has in mind such an ideal, but who is far more weary after a following a decade made up of overthinking about just how you ‘square the circle’.
I became wary to point fingers because I became aware that my fingers were just as much stained with complicity. My focus moved away from relying on ‘magical voluntarism’ (Mark Fisher) to ‘save the day’ and onto a social spirit that will not budge from engaging in harmful actions when it is depressed and defeatist.
I see this tree almost every week, as not long after I planted the tree, post-graduate job-seeking landed me in a job role just up the road. I’m glad it’s been here 10 years, in a decade that feels simultaneously short and long. 10 years ago I saw climate action as number 1 in humanity’s ‘to do’ list. 10 years later I still see climate change as the biggest issue, but the MAIN issue is how to transcend a capitalist world without it becoming something even worse and more barbaric.
But a lot of my actions over the past 10 years are the actions of someone overcome by a sense of defeat on a daily basis, a sense that is very much connected to the world as I have found it. Amidst the hyper-malaise of the present I nonetheless hope one day I can waste a day away admiring the trees I once planted.