In the spring a young tree’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of ... well, though I’d like to, I can hardly put what it is that they’re doing into human terms, at least not on this programme, at least not unless we’ve just been taken over by Howard Stern...
and anyway I’m sure that that nice Lord Tennyson (whom I sort of quoted-ish back there) would object (though come to think of it Locksley Hall does have it’s raunchier moments so maybe he would only object quietly) and, well whatever it is those promiscuous trees are doing, they seem to be doing it directly into my eyes which, if they don’t stop soon will, I’m sure result in me going blind as well as them.
Oh! Yes and now I’d better make a clean breast of it and admit it---I have hayfever, bad hayfever, really bad hayfever, really, really bad... but, well, I think I’ve made my point now. Just accept that that I’ve got to the state where I’m now so Sneezy and Grumpy and Sleepy that I only need a PhD and I could be a majority of the Seven Dwarfs!
You see the trouble is that if you are a tree; in the spring; and the old sap is starting to rise; and you are feeling frisky and you have this urge to go out and meet lady trees, you run into an immediate and pretty-much insurmountable problem. You see... You see a randy young tree, in the spring, can’t just saunter over and chat up that group of foxy girl trees over there, however spruce he may be. Well I suppose he can’t do it at other times of the year either, but it doesn’t seem to matter as much to them then.
He is stuck: rooted to the spot (and having said that, think how often even young male human beings are rooted to the spot pining in similar circumstances, so imagine how much worse it is for the poor tree who is not just suffering it metaphorically).
So what can they do?
Well it turns out that what many of them actually do do is what I’m sure the masters at all the better tree schools warn them off doing---warn them with dire warnings of hairy palms and the like. Not to beat about the bush, some of them have been sowing their wild oats upon the wind.
Now according to all the Authorities1 the culprits down here in Texas are mainly Oak trees---though I hasten to add that I’m sure they can’t be English Oaks2, ours are much too reserved and of course being English have all been brought up properly, and it turns out after all that they are in fact Live Oaks3---an American species. And now, I suppose in revenge for the war of 1812 and with their hormones raging, those excitable Live Oaks have managed to turn me into a half-dead, nasally challenged, differently breathing Englishman, and to top it off, one full of antihistamine (and from the feel of it Uncle Histamine and probably all their whole brood of little cousin Histamines) too! And this, this, is in spite of all my activity to save baby Christmas trees from a fate worse than (though unfortunately usually including) death, with my dedicated work on behalf of the Save the Cones Fund and PETFir. ---So much for species solidarity among the Plantae. It just leaves me fuming the way those Live Oaks don’t give a fig---Hmmmpf! I bet they’ll be laughing on the other side of their bark when the crunch comes and they need the help of the Christmas tree lobby to save them from becoming dead Oaks. But there’s no point in my continuing to abuse them when they are so obviously succesful at abusing themselves.
But one final point, you know it’s not just me that these leafy Lotharios are troubling. Why even young Mandy in our office has been complaining, and loudly too, about how her car is being completely covered in pollen, which I suppose must be a mild annoyance to her, but, but it’s distracting everyone else from me and from the horror that at the moment my whole life is being covered in pollen!
Cheerio for now
from Richard Howland-Bolton.
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"... according to all the Authorities" These ones!
And here is what they were saying at the time the essay was written:
2 English Oak
"... they can't be English Oaks" '(Quercus robur), ornamental and timber tree of the beech family (Fagaceae) that is native to Eurasia but also cultivated in North America and Australia.
The tree has a short, stout trunk with wide-spreading branches and may grow to a height of 25 m (82.5 feet). The short-stalked leaves, 13 cm (5 inches) or more long, have three to seven pairs of rounded lobes; they are dark green above and pale green beneath and retain their colour into winter. Many varieties are cultivated as ornamentals, including a popular columnar form. The tree's heavy heartwood was once extensively used in Great Britain for shipbuilding and carving.'
"English Oak." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2004. 10 Apr. 2004 Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service
They are of course nothing to do with the famous and mighty Quercus maximus bambergascoinii!
3 Live Oak
"... Live Oaks---an American species" 'any of several species of North American ornamental and timber trees belonging to the red oak group of the genus Quercus in the beech family (Fagaceae).
Specifically, the term refers to the southern live oak (Quercus virginiana), a massive evergreen tree native to Cuba and the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains. It often grows to a height of 15 metres (50 feet) or more on hummocks and ridges but may be shrubby on barren coastal soils. The trunk divides near the ground into several limbs that may extend horizontally as much as two to three times the height of the tree.
The elliptical leaves, usually unlobed, are dark green and glossy above, whitish and hairy below. A valuable timber tree, southern live oak is also planted as a shade and avenue tree in the southern U.S. It grows rapidly on good soil but is not as long-lived as was once thought: the oldest known specimens range in age from 200 to 300 years. Live oak derives its name from the fact that it is evergreen and durable...'
"Live Oak." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2004. 10 Apr. 2004 Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service
...and not (as we all thought) from its wild sex life.
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