When Roger Deakin, the beloved nature writer and wild swimmer, died in 2006, his friend Robert Macfarlane found a fitting way to remember him. Macfarlane, a fellow writer who became Deakin’s literary executor, salvaged a sapling from Walnut Tree Farm, where Deakin had lived, and planted it in the chalky clay of his south Cambridge garden.
It was an “ur-apple”, whose species is the ancestor of the modern apple tree, and whose fruit is small, strange and often sweet. Deakin had grown a seedling from a pip he’d taken home from the wild apple orchards of Kazakhstan, having salvaged it from the “feral fruit”, as he called it in an essay since published online by Emergence Magazine, that he’d snacked on while walking.
After Deakin’s death, two of his friends grew the seedling into a sapling and, eventually, gave it to Macfarlane. In an afternote to Deakin’s essay, Macfarlane recalls driving the sapling home. “I put it on the front seat in its pot, strapped it in with a seat belt, checked that the passenger-side airbag was enabled and drove home, feeling as if Roger were beside me.”
三级成人视频In the early days of the coronavirus crisis, Macfarlane a picture of the tree bursting, as he described it, “into bright leaf and bud with unprecedented vigour”. The tree prompted him to observe that “small anchor-points of calm/wonder in nature become important in a world turned upside-down”.
The idea of anchor-points was an intriguing one, apposite for the moment. I asked him more about the tree and concept. Via email, Macfarlane described the tree as, at least until now, “a reluctant flowerer, and an even more reluctant fruiter.
“So as the Covid-19 三级成人视频crisis was breaking over the country in its first forceful wave, I was in the garden, just trying to orient myself amid the chaos, and I noticed that, not only had the tree burst into bright green leaf, but also into profuse, beautiful bud, hundreds more buds than I’d ever seen before on it.”
三级成人视频It was an arresting sight, and something of a salve, too. “Suddenly my mind briefly reorganised itself around that surge of life; there was temporarily, to quote T S Eliot in Four Quartets, a ‘still point of the turning world’, and I experienced it as a leafing of hope, too, a reminder that cyclical, seasonal rhythms were at work, and that things could still get more beautiful, not less.
三级成人视频“That prompted,” Macfarlane wrote, “the idea of an ‘anchor-point’, something small to moor ourselves to amid the turbulence, if briefly; and of nature’s power at this unprecedented time (the pandemic itself a version of nature, of course) to offer hope, consolation, calm, wonder, beauty and to take us out of our immediate circumstances. Spring is breaking over us in Britain at the same time as the pandemic is, and we will need the first to endure the second.”
三级成人视频The worlds of psychology and meditation tell us something similar: sensory appreciation of our surroundings, particularly when those surroundings include nature, offers us some respite from the frenetic activity of what neurologists call our “default mode network”, the seat of thinking, planning, daydreaming, worrying.
A particularly meaningful anchor-point, we can theorise, might evoke feelings of comfort or familiarity. You may already be thinking of one of yours, whether it be a tree, an heirloom or some clothing.
As the crisis continues, I sought more ideas of what an anchor-point might be. Ten public figures offer examples of theirs here.
Co-tenant, Cotswold Farm Park; author of
"A newborn calf"
三级成人视频My dad saved the Gloucester Cattle breed from extinction 48 years ago, and I still remember Ella, the first one he brought to the farm. In fact, my daughter’s named after her!
三级成人视频A few days ago we had a little heifer calf born, Dolly, that’s a blood relation to that original cow. She has beautiful big eyes and long eyelashes, no horns yet, and this morning she was suckling from her mum, with that beautiful, rich Gloucester milk frothing around her mahogany-brown mouth.
No matter how down we’re feeling on the farm, we’ve got to get out there and feed the animals, and that takes your mind off anything.
三级成人视频Broadcaster, DJ, and presenter of the podcast
"A necklace containing my grandfather’s ashes"
I wear a necklace given to me by my mum and dad that encases my grandad’s ashes. There is an inscription on one side that says: “Always with me.” I find it unbelievably comforting. I will sometimes hold it and rub it between my fingers and I immediately feel calmer and content.
三级成人视频My Grandad Bowman was a very special man and we had an incredible bond, so to have a sense that he’s with me, through everything, is priceless.
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson
三级成人视频Politician and 11-time Paralympic gold medallist
"My sister's finger puppet"
三级成人视频When my sister was five or six years old, someone gave her a finger puppet for her birthday. It had an orange face and big bug eyes, and she ended up giving it to me.
三级成人视频We called him Woodgie, and I used to take him everywhere. I used to love winding my dad up by pretending Woodgie was a living thing. Woodgie is very ugly, but he brings back so many childhood memories. He lives on a shelf in our kitchen now, next to our family photos. I don’t notice him every day but, when I do, he brings a smile to my face.
三级成人视频Broadcaster and author of
"A family shawl"
三级成人视频Mine is an oatmeal- coloured woollen shawl, entirely plain apart from a narrow piece of golden brocade along the edges. It was given to me when I got married by my mother’s cousin, Shahmeen, who told me of its link to another wedding more than 60 years before.
In 1940, when my grandfather was marrying my grandmother, the groom’s five sisters were given identical saris to mark the occasion. Shahmeen’s mother was one of the five, and although the sari had frayed over the years, the border piece had enough life in it to be removed and stitched on to a shawl.
三级成人视频I look at it with a sense of wonder at its age – and that it survived the family’s hurried departure from India for Pakistan in 1947.
三级成人视频It connects me to three older generations of women in my family. It has history, beauty, and utility – even if it is rather too precious to be worn more than once in a while!
三级成人视频Designer, writer and presenter of
"A talismanic belt"
三级成人视频I bought a simple brown leather belt from a leather maker when I was 18, and I still wear it nearly every day. The thing I liked about it is that with the passing of age, rather like me, it’s got lined, cracked and old and, at the same time, its pointed tip is still glossy and shiny.
When I put it on it’s like putting on a piece of armour, like girding myself with the properties of a talisman. And, most importantly, it holds my trousers up.
三级成人视频Historian, TV presenter and author of
"An ancient yew"
三级成人视频Around the time that Julius Caesar was coming and seeing and not conquering, a bird flew somewhere over Runnymede and s--- out a seed from a yew berry.
三级成人视频The consequence of that little bird is a gigantic tree known as the Ankerwycke Yew, which stands beside the ruins of a priory.
三级成人视频I live close enough to take my dog down there. The sentiment is a bit trite, but I enjoy seeing something that wasn’t deliberately planted, but has succeeded through all these generations, countless wars, tragedies and happinesses, just carried on its merry way.
三级成人视频Gardener, broadcaster and author of
"The natural world"
This morning I was woken up by the blackbirds singing from the chestnut tree just across from our bedroom. It’s a territorial call and all that, but there’s joy in there, and don’t tell me a blackbird doesn’t feel exhilarated when he’s singing it.
The natural world is, for me, the greatest anchorage of all. There is a greater thing going on in this world than us.
三级成人视频Food writer and co-founder of
"My father's handiwork"
三级成人视频We moved into a new house recently, and my father who, at the age of 78, is a late-blooming carpenter, built the kitchen. As part of that, he built the window-cum-door that separates the kitchen and garden. It’s a wonderful creation, inspired by a cathedral he admires.
三级成人视频Now that spring is arriving, the garden is beginning to become more colourful. One of our trees has striking pink leaves which always catch my eye, and we’ll soon be putting up some raised beds. I love looking out while I’m cooking.
At the end of the garden is a train track. For me, there’s something reassuring about the regularity of the trains rushing down the line, and for my children, it’s all very exciting. When they hear a train coming, they let me know by shouting: “Train!”
Sir Simon Schama
Professor of history and art history, writer and TV presenter
三级成人视频Spring peepers are minute, tan-coloured frogs that get through the New York winter, despite being partially frozen. At this time of the year, they appear in their thousands where I live in the Hudson Valley.
三级成人视频Any day now, we’ll get this extraordinary burst of warbling and peeping from a vast multitude of male frogs trying to attract females. They are a sign that life will go on, however frozen many things in our lives will be. It always makes me happy when I hear them.
Lynda La Plante
Crime fiction writer, former actress and author of
"A photo from another life"
On my bedroom wall hangs the most bizarre photograph of me as Calamity Jane. I was 25 and playing her at the Round in Sheffield. I’ve got an arrow through my head, and I’ve only got to look at it and it makes me laugh.
三级成人视频It was a time that seems so far away, so removed from everything that I do now. The musical director was a horrible little man, which is why my expression in the photograph says: “F--- you! And f--- the horse you rode in on!”
I couldn’t keep a note, so the rehearsals were traumatic. But with some help, I mastered it, and that was the beginning of me gaining confidence.
三级成人视频So every time I see that photo, I remember that I fought through and I won.