Earlier today, I went for a walk with a friend in Spa Wood, (a woodland which is just a short stroll from my home).
My friend had not seen the woods since 2019 and remarked that the canopy was not as thick as was previously the case. She also noted, with regret that a number of trees had succumbed to the axe.
A number of trees (including holly) have been removed, the reason given being that the conservationists wish to return the wood (so far as is possible) to it’s traditional state, in which trees such as the great oak held sway.
Whilst I understand the perspective of the conservationists, I liked the wood as it was prior to the clearance of holly and other plants which where not part of the original forest. Whilst the woods still contain a delightful blend of light and shade, the dark heart is not as dark as was previously the case, and that I regret.
I am, by temprament a Conservative. I like the familiar, whether that be my favourite local pub with its open fire, or the woodland close to my home. That which exists gives me pleasure and I am one of those individuals who, when someone advocates a change requires to be convinced of it’s necessity.
Of course some might argue that my Conservative disposition should incline me to support the restoration of the woods as they were in the past. However there is a difference between the Reactionary and the Conservative. Whilst the Reactionary wants to return to some “golden age”, the Conservative is inclined to revel in the enjoyment of what exists rather than to wish to put the clock back to some former time.
The person of a Conservative frame of mind does value institutions, tradition etc for they have stood the test of time which demonstrates to him that they possess value and, as such they inspire loyalty.
Given my Conservative disposition, I wish to preserve the beautiful old oaks. However I also relished the variety provided by the (now largely removed) holly.
My friend (who is no Conservative in the political sense of the word) feels the same as me, as regards the woodland, which goes to show that conservatism (with a small c) is an important component of the human condition.
Some time back I wrote “A Dialogue”, which does, I think touch on some of the issues outlined above:
There is a frame of mind
That says “leave as you find.
Let the great Oak alone
And spare the ancient stone
For they serve a purpose
If one looks beneath the surface
To bare a mind
Which no beauty doth find
In oak and stone
“For they stand in the way
Of a brighter day”.
“But if you pull the tree down
What then supports the ground?
For the roots go deep
And people weep
When the oak falls
On ancient halls”.
“Let us wield the axe and be glad
For the old ways are bad.
New seed we will sow
The past must go”.
They are arguing still
As the sun sinks
O’er vale and hill.
“A Dialogue” can be found in “Lost in the Labyrinth of My Mind”, which is available here, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AF5EPVY/