The Trees are in. The Team from Enterprise Liverpool arrived early on a morning blessed with sunshine and clear blue sky with the trees on the back of the lorry. Then slowly one by one everyone who had chosen one emerged out of their houses to say hello to the guys who were planting them and to say welcome to “their” tree. There was some discussions about vulnerability and the fact that if these trees, which must be amongst the most anticipated and well loved in Liverpool, were ever to be damaged just how painful that would be. There were jokes to disperse the sudden fear of that thought and offers from those planting them to watch over them every night huddled in their cars flash lights at the ready. There was also a suggestion that each should have a picture of the person who chose it and what it meant to them as a charm against any possible harm. But in the end we have to leave it to chance because any investment in the future requires a risk. An openness to vulnerability. Each expression of hope contains within it the risk of looking foolish and soft. We know that. These trees are such an expression because they will outlast all of us who chose them and they are as much for those who come after us than they are for us. So if our trees are a visible investment in the certainty that the vast majority of us are decent, honorable and kind and are better, much better, than we think we are, then we are proud that it is so.
On Wednesday this week the 7 new trees we have bought will be here. They have actually been in Liverpool for over a week now and are currently being looked after by Andy and his colleagues at Enterprise but on Wednesday they will be here in our soil, on our street and in our community. This matters to us. It matters to usa lot. That is partly because of the evolution of the idea which started with the idea of one tree which became through conversations and flights of imagination fifteen, from a small gesture to an ambitious goal to which required us to raise £2000. So from one cherry tree to 7 new trees each chosen with so much thought and care that they have become in my mind to represent the people who chose them. So much so that I imagine them to be like us standing in the community of which were are part of and am comforted by the idea that they will be here a long time after we are gone looking over the community we are part of. We know we are taking a risk. Some of what we have done before has been thrashed, ruined and stolen. We know how we will feel if one of these trees is damaged. But the risk is one worth taking because so much of what we have already done continues to blossom and with it so do we. We are stronger together than we are alone and we are coming out of our homes and claiming our street, our place, our environment and together, slowly, patiently and with love we are making it more beautiful.
When it was suggested that a swim in the Mersey was a good way of raising funding for the bulbs it sounded like a relatively easy thing to do. When I say relative I mean in comparison to something like a parachute jump or abseiling down from the Radio Tower. It also has the advantage of not having being expensive to set up. I had a swimming costume and at the cost of a few jelly fish stings could manage without a wet suit for one swim. In the months that have followed since the idea turned into a sponsorship form and the date of the 24th of August had been set had it begun to feel much more of a challenge. It is one thing to SAY that you are going to go for a swim and quite another getting in. Swimming in the river is quite a different thing than swimming in a pool. Even the water in the Liverpool dock where I have been training to develop some open water swimming techniques feels alive in a way which pool water never does. Once you are in the river you understand it to have a life and a will of it’s own and that I guess is part of the exhiliiration of wild water swimming for those who do it seriously. For me I am far from certain that this experience will start a life long passion, particularly as the winter months draw in, but it has certainly been a memorable experience. It has taught me that I have more physical courage than I imagined and that fears can be overcome. It has intriduced me to a new experience and new group of people and, if I am honest, left me feeling a little bit proud. Perhaps I can now be regarded as a proper adopted scouser as it is not that many people from this great city who can claim to have swum the Mersey.
We are a group of residents from L6 in Liverpool who have been getting together over the last year or so to dig, weed, litter pick and plant bulbs on the grass verge which separates our houses from a busy dual carriage way into Liverpool. During that time not only have we made our environment more beautiful we have, as we have got to know each other, begun planting the seeds of a stronger and more mutally supportive community. Having witnessed the power of green waves we plan to do much, much more. So watch this space.