The Fragile Forest

The silence is unprecedented for spring, a time of bird song and insect hymns. It’s a silence I’ve never known in this forest in fact, this wild tangle of silver birch and willow, alders, shrubs and reeds. Even in deepest winter the place resounds with a living quiet, a mute but sensed presence. Instead there is the hollow echo of absence.

I have been here before. Not only to this rare and mysterious place along the shores of the lake but amidst the constituents of its devastation: ash, cinders and ignorance. This part of the world has a dark history of fire being used as an economic instrument, a way of clearing the land of trees to get around restrictions on development or for additional, illegal grazing. The fires often shift wildly out of control, having been lit purposefully on days with high winds in order to push the flames as far as possible, and they occasionally lead to vast and devastating conflagrations like some of the fires in the Peloponnese caused by arson a few years ago. The acrid scent of smoke is common throughout the land.

Returning home after a day away we discovered that the silver birch forest hugging the southern shore of Great Prespa Lake had been set ablaze – the orchestrated work of arson. The fire trucks weren’t on alert in April, stowed in the nearest town 50 kilometres of mountain road away. By the time they came over the high, winding pass and descended into the lake basin the parts of the forest still visible through the haze had been burned beyond recognition. A fortunate turn of winds meant the loss was less than it might have been, where it could have spread into the deepest tracts and beyond the border into the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Instead it curled in on itself, giving the fire fighters a chance to douse it. With their work finally finished they confirmed the growing murmur of suspicion: the series of individual fires had been deliberately set.

As I approach the forest the sweet scent of blossom unrolls on a breeze. Beyond the white blooms fizzing with bees a black expanse shoulders out towards the lake. I slide rubber boots up to my knees and tuck my oldest pair of trousers inside them. Then I traipse a trail through ash. It lays in deep reefs, sometimes a foot thick and crisscrossed with charred branches and a few untouched reeds, the accumulated memory of a once-living time. I find myself wondering what organisms surround me, what’s been transformed into a singular and indistinguishable dark thing. The reek of fire pillows up with each step.

Animal tracks pock the ash; a skin of burnt bark has been sloughed off by deer. And everywhere the silence. The tips of trees just greening hold no birds or butterflies; no bees skim what would have been an unfolding forest floor. The silver birches weep sap from their sides, strange red drops that fall when they should be rising at this time of year. Where the bark has been singed it crinkles and peels, a forlorn set of pages being turned. There is a place for fire in the natural order of things – certain ecosystems wouldn’t exist without it – but not in this manner.

The silver birch forest in Prespa is a rare community of trees. Although a common northern species with a reputation for being invasive, the silver birch reaches its most southern distribution here. The elegant white tree wrapped in parchment-like bark clings to the very edge of its range around the lake. Mingling with willow, alder and poplar there are very few forest ecosystems of this composition to be found anywhere else in the country. And its origins are equally unique. For the past half-century the Prespa Lakes have been receding. Though the exact causes remain unknown, this loss has enabled a gain. The progressively exposed shorelines are ideal for damp-loving trees like the silver birch and willow, and this young forest community has emerged in the water’s place. It is an authentic wild wood, a unique and natural expression of trees. Hosting a rich variety of migrating and resident birds and insects, it also harbours an astonishing range of mammals for such a small parcel of land, including bear, badger, wild cat, fox, roe deer, otter and wild boar. A distinguished place within the basin.

The fires were probably set by, or on behalf of, the owners of animal flocks, either to curtail the forest’s expansion or to clear the reeds for grazing. The reeds will return more resolutely, however, bolstered by the nutrients in the ash, and the sandy lakeside land at the edge of the forest is too poor to provide much edible grass. But the fires continue all the same, despite the lack of any benefit. Not long ago a friend watched the process unfold through his telescope while he watched birds from a hill. The herder dipped cotton into oil and brought a lighter down to meet it before tossing it casually into a thicket of dry reeds. He then moved on and performed the process again. Within seconds a series of blazes rode away.

Some years ago I interviewed the director of the NGO concerned with the natural and cultural preservation of the Prespa Lakes, The Society for the Protection of Prespa. As the lakes straddle three countries I was interested in Myrsini Malakou’s thoughts on borders. At some point she shifted the conversation in a way that I hadn’t expected, away from the obviously political towards a line of thought that has as much, if not more, bearing on the future of many shared places: “You can’t say that the national border is more important than any other…There are the borders of interest and activity – the farmer, the fisherman, the environmentalist.” Walking through the burned forest I saw clearly how divisive and exclusive those borders can be.

I feel empty amidst the ash. I’ve experienced the resilience of the natural world before, how unexpectedly riotous it can be in the most fragile of times, but this doesn’t allay the sensation of sadness and loss, my powerless rage. What takes years to become can be undone in a day. What has laced together of its own accord into complex and varied life forms can easily be extinguished. That is the measure of man at his most destructive. The forest will regrow, of that I’m sure. But unless common ground can be found across the differing borders of interest and activity then environmental conflicts will continue. The ecological integrity of the world that sustains us will eventually collapse; it is simply a matter of time.

In ‘The Wild Marsh’ Rick Bass writes of his absorbing love for the Montana wilds where he lives, even when confronted with aspects of its destruction, the dissolution of its biological beauty: “But one of the key components of love is hope – enduring hope – and to let fear replace hope would be a bitter defeat indeed, a kind of failure in its own stead.”

The day is warming towards noon. My throat rasps from inhaling ash and the remains of smoke have left my eyes watery and raw, but amidst the black and feeble desert before me I see a peacock butterfly sunning itself on a singed stick. Its wings open and close slowly, like curtains on a summer breeze. I can find no other colour, no other life in this place drained of light, but it is enough. This small and fragile creature whose life spans days rather than years acts as a lens, a focus for more than it is, and I leave the fire and forest behind determined to do more than merely hope.

To read an earlier post on fire in the region click here.

45 thoughts on “The Fragile Forest

  1. An eloquent, restrained and beautifully written protest against the destructive and avaricious behaviour of mindless humanity. Probably those concerned see no wrong in what they’re doing – that’s the real shame of the situation. Perhaps also the burning of woodland to claim land for grazing like the overfishing of perilously depleted stocks is a structural problem that needs to be addressed in the wider context. Why the ‘need’ to continue destroying precious habitats and resources?

    I strongly feel that this post, in common with much of your writing, Julian, needs and deserves a wider audience. Keep it coming.

    1. You’re quite right in your thoughts as usual, Pete. What you say regarding those seeing “no wrong in what they’re doing” is so very accurate; it’s something we’ve come up against a fair bit of late here and I’ve tried working through how uniquely we all see the world around us and what I can learn from such fundamental differences. The idea of common ground has emerged from it. But I like what you’re saying about structural problems affecting issues like overfishing as well – there is little in the way of political guidance addressing these concerns that affect us all. What you and I see as “precious habitats and resources” unfortunately isn’t perceived by all, and I struggle deeply with a way forward on this.

      On your last words: thanks so much for the continued support and kind words. I feel honoured by your compliments.

  2. I agree with Peter, Julian, you do deserve a much wider audience. You have a thoughtful way of looking at things that heals and looks deeper than surface reactions to sad situations. I appreciate the insight about borders – if more people could see that we are all one, connected in a precious web of life, those hard borders of all kinds would start to fade and soften. I think the sight of the peacock butterfly was an encouraging message from the universe. Thank you for your heart warming words.

    1. Thanks, as ever, Barbara. Your words of wisdom and intelligence are essential. Your notion of connectivity is crucial to this discussion, placing ourselves in the position of relationship rather than dominion. And whether it’s a butterfly, a glade of light or a summer storm that brings us closer to recognising the natural world around us it is ultimately restorative. Thanks for your kind words…

  3. A beautiful requiem. Sorry for your pain in losing the trees and their inhabitants. I inherited a small piece of tree-laden land with my sister and I absolutely refuse to let them be cut down for dollars. So far, she’s on board with me.

    When I find posts like this I like to recommend them on my blog. While I can’t offer many eyes, I agree that you should receive a wider audience.

    My blog is noodleepoodlee.org and is mostly political and social satire, but not all. Also include environmental posts and citizen action recommends.

    I would like to include this in one of my recommend posts if you are O.K. with that.

    Again, great writing.

    1. Thanks kindly for taking the time to read and for the wonderful comment! I’d be delighted if you wanted to recommend the post.

      I can well understand wanting to hang onto your trees; I have a number of friends in Canada doing similar things with pockets of woodland. And over time I’d like to think that ways of resolving the underlying issues might surface as well.

      Looking forward to dropping by your blog, and thanks again for the generous words.

      Best wishes,
      Julian

  4. Wonderfully written and compelling as usual.
    The situation you describe truly is a testament to nature and how life will prevail even in the midst of heartbreaking destruction.

    The one picture that tells it all is the one of the silver birch that appears to be “bleeding” sap as a wounded warrior would in battle.
    So glad I subscribed!

    1. Also very glad you subscribed! Thanks for your thoughtful words as always. The colour of the sap was completely unexpected; I worked my way around the first tree a number of times to see if there was another explanation, but after a while I began seeing that it was the same wherever I looked. Nature is extraordinarily resilient but it can only take so much. In this case the damage was fortunately, and relatively, light.

      Hope all is well with you amidst the terrible storms…
      Best wishes,
      Julian

  5. Rick Bass speaks well when he recommends hope, but perhaps as a result of living in a place where the predominant understanding of nature is termed ‘resources’, hope is beginning to fail me, or I, it. They “see no wrong in what they’re doing” as Peter so clearly states. I have difficulty believing that humanity is capable of blurring the borders of interest and activity until a global cataclysm of severe mutual need occurs. And then it will be a matter of survival and those that have heart will come together to rebuild as we see in Japan and now Alabama.

    Your way with words so thoughtfully illustrated has again touched me deeply, Julian. You will have an ever-widening audience.

    1. Thanks for your honest thoughts, Cindy. I share them much of the time. We’ve just returned from a walk through a part of Prespa that we spend a lot of time in, generally in the winter when the reeds throng with secretive species and the snow is dense with animal tracks. But I’ve come home today even more dismayed than usual. Along with the fact that part of the area has been increasingly used as a general dumping area for waste and old tires and unwanted furniture the reeds beds and river have been burned beyond belief.

      On the same day that the silver birch forest was set alight a huge expanse of reed bed was also lit. Though we weren’t here that day a friend subsequently sent me a photograph looking down on the blackened area. This is where we were today, having forgotten about that particular fire in the midst of so many others. Had the winds again not shifted the world’s largest colony of endangered Dalmatian pelicans (around 1400 pairs) along with hundreds of white pelicans brooding on nests could have been in the path of the flames. Much of where we walked today was devastated; and it was with great sadness that we watched a pair of terrapins mating in a soupy pool of black and charred reeds and fire-killed trees. At this moment hope seems a distant mirage; I feel that we are drifting ever further from ecological awareness rather than closer. It is only the wonders of the wild and the knowledge that there are others out there like you that keep me from admitting futility.

      Thanks as ever for your kind words, Cindy.

      Best wishes,
      Julian

      1. It would be so tempting to wall off a bit of bush and pretend the outside world doesn’t exist. The frustration of powerlessness can be so debilitating. I imagine you are aware that we have a federal election tomorrow. I will vote with my conscience with little hope of making any difference. I wish I knew the formula to opening up minds and separating hearts from their money. It would be even more of a challenge where you are since livelihood itself is at stake. Here, there is only a perception of never enough. There, I imagine people are often truly on the edge of survival and it is either nature or humanity – the mutual dependance an issue for an unseen future.

        1. Ah! The walled-off bit of bush! I’ve certainly entertained that idea from time to time….

          You raise so many interesting thoughts in your comment, Cindy. From the sense of powerlessness, and how it affects us, to the question of raising awareness and opening minds. Big questions indeed, and yes, I’ve been following the election and have just been reading of the results and of the first parlimentary seat for the Greens. Though I can’t say the major result fills me with any joy at all…

          If only it were a question of survival then the issue would at least resolve itself into a recognisable choice. But it isn’t I’m afraid. Though the Albanian side of the lakes basin is extremely poor (as, to a lesser extent, is the Rep. of Macedonian side) the Greek side is not. Though hardly wealthy, the area does quite well through agriculture and tourism. The village roads are full of brand new 4×4 jeeps and pick-ups and new homes. Though I appreciate the consumerist “perception of never enough” in somewhere like Canada, there seems to be something else underpinning so much casual environmental destruction in Greece and the Balkans; it is a dislike for the natural. The river was burnt to ‘clean’ it. The reed beds burnt to ‘clean’ them. About a month ago (and this story troubles me more than most) the mayor of our village turned up at dawn with a chainsaw and beginning illegally cutting down the willows that grow in the river that passes by the foot of our garden. One after the other they fell, while a few of us pleaded and argued with him. It was only stopped when one villager jumped into the tree about to be cut. Now there is great animosity and division in the village. The police showed up, the two vice-mayors and mayor of all of Prespa (who with a flourish of his hand described the trees as ugly…) and it opened a long and ultimately unresolvable question of perception.

          For us, and for others in the village, the river trees bring a splash of green to the heart of the village in summer, birds use them constantly, tourists wander beside them. They provide shade and character, an aspect of nature that many city-dwellers are envious of. But when I asked the chainsaw-wielding mayor of the village why he wanted to cut them down, he told me that they were ugly, that we needed to ‘clean’ the river of trees, and in words that still astonish me “it is not natural for trees to grow in rivers.” I still don’t know what to do with a statement like that, but many in the village share his view. He and many others wish to concrete the river sides instead and install lights and a few pretty and non-native shrubs. It has forced me to accept that one of the most basic things in the world – a tree – isn’t seen the same by all. That these natural willows are a blight we should be rid of; that when they sway and shift in the winds it isn’t in fact beautiful; that the birdsong calling from them in spring is irrelevent. There remains a deep dislike for nature, and when that exists we can act with impunity because the things we are destroying don’t actually matter.

          1. Suddenly Joni Mitchell is singing in my head as I’m picturing your mayor ‘paving paradise’. Forty years ago she helped to make it at least politially unpopular to admit to a dislike of nature in North America. How far have we come? I suppose this man has gained satisfaction from his own manipulations of the natural world – was he a farmer? – and grew up with a sense of prosperity from dominance over nature: never taking pleasure in the birds or the breeze, seeing them only as challenges to be overcome. I wonder if this ingrained perception is a lost cause with hope lying in an enlightened younger generation before too much damage can be done – a huge challenge in itself.

            1. I agree that there is hope to be found in an enlightened younger generation. I know of some environmental organisations that openly admit the difficulties, if not the impossibilities, of raising awareness amongst an older generation in what remain socially conservative, traditional societies. And I’m not surprised by that, hence their great efforts at environmental education for children. And around here I certainly get a sense from many of the young people that I know how disgusted they often feel at the way the environment is treated here. An interesting dichotomy.

              It’s so hard to know what aspects of the natural world people take pleasure in, if at all. Our mayor left the village years before we moved here and made his money running bars and tavernas in the city and Greek seaside, and it is my belief that he’s trying to transplant what many see as the ‘sophisticated’ aspects of those environments to this mountain village. A kind of Santorini in the hills, an inauthentic (if pretty) place aimed at tourists. I’ll keep you posted on any future rows!

    1. Thanks kindly, Val, for your very generous words. I’m delighted that you’ve been enjoying the posts and photographs; and many thanks for thinking of Notes from Near and Far for the award! I’ll stop by your site soon…

      Best wishes,
      Julian

  6. Last fall my brother took me on a trip that included several Greek islands. So many islands we cruised by were bare, their once-forested sloped denuded and now unable to hold the soil.

    It is a cycle that we repeat over and over. We must learn to work and live with nature and not see it as the enemy.

    Wonderful post Julian.

    1. Thanks, Sybil. It’s interesting what you have to say about Greek islands; they’re regularly at the centre of fires set by arson, and that denuded appearance is the result of the imbalance in our relationships with the natural world. As tourism on the islands has increased over the years, fresh water springs have run dry and water is often shipped in on boats to provide for the industry. A truly unsusustainable practice.

      Many thanks for reading.

  7. Julian, I wish I had some way of making your sense of devastation better, but obviously, I don’t. Perhaps, though, your sorrow is a fitting tribute to the memory of the forests that you once roamed. Such a loss is bad enough, but somehow I think it is even worse when the tragic loss of flora and fauna lacks someone to grieve what has passed. In Northern Ontario we used to have many forest fires, but as you mentioned in your post, those fires were often caused by lightning and as such was nature’s way of clearing blowdown from previous season’s windstorms and of bringing about a healthy regeneration. What you described in your post was a tragedy of a different sort. I think that Peter said it best when he noted that addressing the economic issues that motivate people to cause this type of destruction is the only way we’ll ever change these kinds of behaviours.

    1. Thanks, as ever, for your interesting thoughts and kinds words, Paul. There is something about the act of witnessing that at least brings a different kind of life to what has gone. I also believe it is important, when possible, to bring these episodes directly into our own lives (to borrow from your excellent post Dare to Become Aware, for other readers), to become aware to them, to open ourselves in whatever ways we can to the world around us. In environmental terms, there is a quote by Guy Davenport that I think of whenever something like this occurs: “Distance negates responsibility.” Both geographically and consciously, I’m aware of how easy it is for me to feel distant.

      I agree with both you and Peter that underlying economic issues need to be addressed in regards to environmental destruction – it is vital to so many ecological concerns – but I’m at more of a loss when economics can have little bearing on a situation. I’ve written at greater length regarding this in reply to Cindy above, but there are questions of perception and awareness at play as well which I believe education (particularly of children and young people, ie. the future generations) is paramount. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Paul.

      Best,
      Julian

      1. Julian, as you have oh so gently pointed out, the reasons for environmental destruction are varied and thus different solutions are required depending on the nature of the cause. Your comments have brought to mind Jared Diamond’s book, Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed. It has been a few years since I’ve read the book, but my sense is that he describes how the ethos of a society effects that society’s relationship to nature, and thus its’ survival or collapse. The case study of Haiti and the Dominican Republic was particularly apt, as both countries share the same island but have had widely divergent impacts on their respective environments.

        1. Thanks ever so much for this book suggestion, Paul. I’ve heard of Jared Diamond before (especially Guns, Germs and Steel), but never actually read any of his work, and this sounds particularly interesting in light of the various conversations we’ve had here. I look forward to tracking it down!

  8. Hello again,

    Just wanted you to know I’ve been popping in and out of your blog today to get links for piece I’ll be posting shortly. It is titled Pause and Reflect, and will feature you and another fellow from Little Bang Theory whose work I like very much.

    Best. Hope some of the pain has subsided.

  9. Beautifully written, and wonderfully accompanied by your photographs.

    It’s sad and difficult to accommodate the varying views of “fair use” held by different people. My overriding consideration is usually the welfare of the wildlife communities which inhabit an area, or even the communities of flora, but to some the need to exploit trumps the need to preserve.

    There are just too many of us for that view to be sustainable.

    Thanks for noticing and caring.

    1. Thanks very much for stopping by, and for the kind compliments. I like very much what you’re saying about wildlife communities and communities of flora, the interrelated web of life that is not only around us, but that we are irrevocably part of. And what you lead up to is a topic so fundamental to the issue of environmental and human health (in the largest sense of the word) but one that continues to be treated like a dirty and shameful secret: continued population growth. When I consider how development pressures on local ecosystems and natural resoures here have increased in recent years (with little population growth) and then try multiplying that across the planet factoring in the density of the population over the next 10, 100, 1000 years, it’s indeed “sad and difficult” to imagine there will be anything even remotely natural about the landscapes surrounding us remaining.

      Looking forward to stopping by your own blog soon. Thanks again,

      Best wishes,
      Julian

  10. I’ve only read this one post, but it was enough to convince me to subscribe. Strong, strong writing. Place is every-present in my thoughts of late, and it’s inspiring to see how–in many ways–you are giving voice to this one. Thank you.

    1. It’s a pleasure to hear from you, Emily! I recognised your name from your lovely piece ‘Deep Lake, Minnesota’ in Orion a couple of issues back. It’s here on the coffee table so I’ve just re-read it. Beautiful.

      Thanks for the compliments and for subscribing as well. I’ve been having a look at the terrific work on your blog and think I’ll equally find much to enjoy and interest me about your place as well!

      Best wishes,
      Julian

  11. You have found much beauty in destruction.

    Boyfriend and I visitied Catalina Island shortly after a fire engulfed the mountains overlooking the ocean. We saw the bloody trees, their peeling skin, their wretched anatomy. Whether by accident (which this was) or by arson, people just never seem to realize the delicate handling nature’s handiwork requires.

    1. Thanks, Aubrey. It’s an odd sensation locating beauty amidst destruction; it draws one’s eyes close. And that fragility you write elegantly about on Catalina Island must have been a strange and moving sight, whether natural or not. Thanks for adding your thoughts here, and for taking the time to read. Much appreciated!

  12. What humans are capable of is just beyond words.
    I hope Karma will bite their butts and their greed will backfire
    :(
    I want to write more, but my brain can’t find the right words.
    Cheers from the desert by the sea, where greedy people rule as well and trash a beautiful piece of Mother Nature,… :/

    1. Thanks very much, Nicole! I’ve just been having a look at that desert by the sea! Delightful bird sightings and great work with the garbage collection, despite the pain it must bring seeing how deeply woven into our way of life it is.
      I’m excited to have a greater look around soon! In the meantime, I love the image of “Karma biting their butts!”

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment…best wishes,
      Julian

  13. Hi Julian.
    I read this post and Cindy’s comments with great interest. Living and working in rural Canada, both Manitoba and Alberta, I do see the generation gap when it comes to the value of nature, but I’m sad to say that it isn’t always the younger generation that I see on the encouraging side. I think the divisions I notice are more genetic than a factor of age.

    Values are passed down through generations and if their parents didn’t value nature, I find it much harder to sway the next cohort’s outlook.

    Much of humanity have been bred to fear and abhor wildness: the big bad wolf, the snake in Eden, the frightening, dark woods… All of these images were drilled into our collective psyche over hundreds of years and it’s a hard cycle to break. If we’re not taught to fear it, we’re taught that it needs to be ‘controlled’. I found your mention of ‘cleaning’ the riverbanks as very telling. Here, farmers burn their stubble, releasing tons of CO2 and actually destroying their topsoil in a misguided effort to ‘clean’ their fields. My grandma used to make my sister and I rake the underbrush around the cottage I now live in.

    Still, I am cautiously optimistic in the direction public perception is headed (current election results notwithstanding), but it’s definitely an uphill battle. Good luck.

    1. Thanks ever so much for this interesting angle, Heather; I think you raise an extremely important point that’s easily forgotten, about how generations are raised within a culture that has historically seen nature through a prism of fear. Those historic connections – the wolf, the snake, the dark woods – run deep and can’t be altered without great effort. And your example of ‘controlling’ through the burning of stubble is apt – that notion of dominion is never far away, regardless of how ill-advised the practice might be. Wildness has long had a bad name so it is with a little smile of hope that I read of your “cautious optimism” considering your work connecting people to nature. Despite the dismal election (which opens up a whole range of thorny topics for me quite frankly!) it’s good to know that you’re seeing public perception shift in a positive way. These little steps up that hill are a good sign!

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment so thoughtfully, Heather.
      Best wishes,
      Julian

  14. “…birches weep sap”,
    “I can find no other colour, no other life in this place drained of light, but it is enough”,
    “I feel empty amidst the ash”,
    “…the sensation of sadness and loss, my powerless rage. What takes years to become can be undone in a day.”

    Such expressions that come from the depths of your heart have penetrated the hearts of your readers. But all along, you’ve managed to be composed and optimistic. Instead of leaving your readers in anguish, you have left for them a ray of hope. Your words are so powerful, and I am sure you will be able to do a lot more.
    (Here when I see shopkeepers poison the trees that block the view of their shops, I feel they prefer the scorching sun to the coolness of the trees in the greed for earning a little more! If they get a chance to read your words – I wish..)

    1. These are very kind and generous words, Bindu, and I am deeply grateful for your interest. It is easy for all of us to become dismayed to the point of inaction when witnessing the destruction of our shared natural world and I am no different. If it wasn’t for the many people like yourself who care deeply about these concerns, if it wasn’t for the rich tradition of writers who have spent their lives exploring and celebrating our world with honesty and integrity, then I might not feel the need to locate hope amidst the ash. But this wondrous and fragile world deserves more than resignation – it’s an honour to know that these words have touched you. Many thanks for reading and bringing your insights to the post.

      Best wishes,
      Julian

  15. hi respected julian,
    how are you?
    now only I read your the fragline forest .very good imagination as usual .you are a great writer.because no one interested to protest trees from deforestation …..etc .
    but you brought to every people through your wonderful article protest trees against cruel humanity .that’s great sir .you are great .iam respected you much more.
    by
    your sincerely
    nahila

    1. Thank you, Nahila. It’s good to know that you are interested in protecting trees, like the one that I understand you have in your school yard!
      Best wishes,
      Julian

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