It is Tree Love Week. To be honest, I’m not sure I love my tree that much right now.
As some of you may know, I made some effort to open and extend the lines of communication between me and the tree over several months last year, and all I got in return was stony silence and barely half a dozen litres of poor quality compote.
Yes, many would blame the weather, but I’m minded to blame the tree. (I acknowledge that there is always the possibility of blaming myself, but we’ll get to that later.) Wherever the blame lies, this doesn’t feel much like love.
If you do have a tree you have a crush on and want to tell the world, this is week to do it - and maybe add some kind of contribution to the Tree Love Facebook page.
Bridget Mckenzie – one of the instigators of Tree Love Week - has several suggestions about how exactly to love a tree. Most of them are fairly conventional - nurture it, keep it company, write a poem for it, decorate it with ribbons and pendants, plant posies at the foot of its trunk, or be kind to its friends & family (i.e. other trees). I suppose one might simply give it a hug.
I have been left to ponder what went wrong between me and my tree. Could it possibly be that it was me, that I did something wrong?
Did I say something whilst very drunk that the tree was offended by – but which remains damagingly undiscussed? (I’ve done this before.) Did I over-commit at the beginning of our friendship with baroque, overambitious and frankly uncalled-for ideas of a life together that freaked the tree out? (I’ve done this before too.)
Did I mistake obsessive staring, making crap jokes and being more than a bit creepy as ‘talking’ my way into the tree’s heart? (oh... I’ve done this before too!) Did I mistake the tree’s casual interest in me as someone it could work with as something more? (yes, you’ve guessed it, I’ve done this too.)
It could be all or none of these things. The truth is that I HAVE NO IDEA what my tree is thinking. The very basic communication I have tried so far has really been nothing more than me playing out some story/fantasy of my own using the tree as the object of my obsession, without letting the tree be a tree.
With this in mind, I have decided to show what love there is left for the tree not by buying flowers or chocolates, or writing a poem or tying a yellow ribbon, but instead by investing in equipment that really will allow the tree to speak for itself.
For a start, I have contributed to an interesting Kickstarter project called Harvest Geek which offers an open-source, wireless, Internet of Things Greenhouse monitoring and automation system.
What this should allow the tree to do is generate data about itself and its environmental conditions, and even automate things around it based on the data that is generated. It kind of means it can get on with being itself without me getting in the way, I think. We shall see.
And for good measure I’ve also bought an outdoor Koubachi, which claims it will: "advise about everything your plant needs: water, fertilizer, humidity, temperature and light! Koubachi not only tells you WHEN to care for your plants, but also gives you specific instructions HOW".
Again I’m hoping these devices, programs and apps will show the tree that I only have its best interests at heart; that I’m only interested in it being itself rather than a version of itself that I’ve imagined/invented.
The tree should now be able to grow and fruit and pass through the seasons unmolested by my imagination, but still with all the signs of a life passing between us. Could this be thought of as a kind of loving?
p.s. I need to thank Kim for drawing both HarvestGeek and Koubachi to my attention – and also for her always wise lunchtime conversations (not necessarily about love).