#20 – Plant a Tree

Planting a tree is one of those challenges that was about doing something for someone else.  Trees are good for the environment and good for general wellbeing by improving landscapes.  When I was backpacking in New Zealand I sponsored a tree to be planted in Kaikoura as part of an initiative for travellers to partially carbon offset their travels and support the replanting and conservation of native species.  One tree isn’t, of course, going to completely offset all the travelling I’ve done but it’s better than nothing.  I had an email to confirm that my tree had been planted and show me its location, and I can keep track of its progress online via http://www.treesfortravellers.co.nz/main/home/ .  As my second home, it’s lovely to know that I’ve left a growing legacy in New Zealand, but for the 40 before 40 it was time to do something closer to home.  And for the 17th completed task of my 40 before 40 I wanted to be physically involved in the actual planting as well as making a financial contribution.

Quite a big tree to plant!

Quite a big tree to plant!

Getting stuck in with the spade

Getting stuck in with the spade

I was very lucky that an opportunity arose for a new tree in the beautiful Garden of Remembrance at the Chesil Street premises of my employers, Richard Steel & Partners.  The water Garden is a tranquil and beautiful place in the heart of Winchester, where ashes can be laid to rest and people remembered in a hand decorated Book of Remembrance (see www.winchesterfunerals.co.uk and click on Garden of Remembrance).  The gardener chose the type of tree required (a white flowering cherry), which I bought and then helped to plant on a slightly drizzly morning.

He had chosen a relatively mature tree to fit with the existing planting, and as a result the tree is visible not only inside the garden but also from the riverside walk at The Weirs which runs alongside the other side of the garden wall.  So, when it flowers it’ll be seen from the city and will hopefully give pleasure to walkers enjoying the river path as well as visitors to the Garden.

My tree in situ in the Garden of Remembrance

My tree in situ in the Garden of Remembrance

It seems very fitting to me that I have been able to gift a tree to such a special place, where people go to remember their loved ones in the city I love.  Doing the 40 before 40 is about achieving the things I want to achieve in life and making the most of the opportunities available to me.  I have had too frequent reminders in my own life that tomorrow is promised to no-one and that it’s important to seize the day because there may not be another opportunity.  In the course of my work these reminders also come far too often.  As well as having a lot of fun, part of my aim in not only doing, but also writing about, my 40 challenges is the hope that I inspire others to follow their dreams, reach out and achieve not only huge life goals but also little everyday accomplishments as well.  So, I dedicate my tree to the pursuit of dreams and a life well lived and to the memory of those special to me who didn’t have the chance to grow old.

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