Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Its Tree

Starting in September, a partnership of the Welsh Assembly Government, the Forestry Commission Wales, and the Woodland Trust will plant a tree for every child born in Wales.

This project reminds me of a tradition recorded by Edwin Way Teale in A Walk Through the Year (January 2):
Gone also from this region is that tree of emotional associations known to earlier generations as "Its Tree." It was once the custom on farms in the area to plant a sapling in the year in which a baby was born. It was usually some large-growing, long-lived species that would stand out in the landscape such as an elm or sugar maple.

Now this charming custom of an older time has disappeared. I know of only one person, Helen Mathews, a friend of ours now past ninety, who can recall an "Its Tree" planted for her when she was young. Not far from it was another, far older tree that had been planted for her father.

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