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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Sunday, September 29, 2002
    The anti-harvest
    Today we had harvest festival: I'd invited everyone to bring along a picture of a favourite animal and we went from talking to each other about them to giving thanks for the good things of creation. Amazingly, no-one had misunderstood and brought live creatures with them, though one youngster had packed his rabbit ready for the journey, which in the end, adults intervening, it never made.

    Outside in the dark of the churchyard last night, others had had what I call an anti-harvest, an orgy of destruction in which a whole row of saplings lining the path were snapped in half. I had to clear the shattered younglings to make a way through at 7.30 this morning. It upset me more than any other act of vandalism I'd seen on our vulnerable property.

    Some would say this was just the latest act of tree-murder which has been going on in the area recently, as for a fortnight, demolition workers have moved into the school next door, ripping and tearing unwanted buildings to the ground in preparation for a multi-million pound makeover. Part of this rubble-raising venture involved hacking to the ground a long line of mature and sizeable trees, along our ajoining wall. They fell slowly, like - reluctantly. One marked its premature demise by twisting painstakingly in the air and bringing telephone lines down with it. The place looks naked without them. The loss is palpable; many have felt it.

    Are these acts related? Caught up in Iain Sinclair's world of psychogeography I'm tempted to suggest they are. People have taken permission to tear down the area's trees. Some have committed this act as part of an 'improving' project. Others, on a Saturday-night spree. The permission came from - where? The consequence feels the same.