If you've read this blog in the past, you'll know about Sutton's elms. http://www.livingvillage.blogspot.com/search/label/Elms Sutton in the Elms has its name because of the elm trees under which, in 1650, the Baptists from nearby villages assembled secretly to worship. Elm trees have, in recent years, been subject to the depredations of the Elm Bark Beetle and the fatal fungus it spreads so that the Elms of Sutton in the Elms are long gone.
Last October, the village got together to plant new elm trees through the village and, over the hot Summer of 2010, they watered them and cared for them.
A few weeks ago, someone tore down one of the elms in the outskirts of the village. It has been put back together and its trunk bound theough it seems unlikely to survive. If that weren't bad enough, the final, symbolic tree was broken and cast down in the early hours of a morning this week.
Other things were part of the vandalism, an old lady's bins were removed and dumped on the main road - perhaps not a great crime, but very difficult for someone old and frail. The notices asking people not to park their care where bulbs had been planted were also pulled up and thrown about.
I know I'm getting old and crabby (as opposed to young and crabby) but what makes me angry is the sheer pettiness, the blind destructiveness of destroying something that gives people pleasure and into which they have put a fair bit of hard work. It's as if the vandals are saying,"No matter what you do to make life better for everyone, we can still bring you down to our twisted level". "What we want is for you to have lives as stripped of light and joy as our own". It's the simple banality of that point of view that angers me. Instead of doing what they can to improve people's (including their own) lives, they simply destroy.
I'm also made angry by the fact that this happened at 5.10 in the morning. This wasn't some drunken spree after the pubs close, it was a calculated piece of contempt. Of course, the most depressing thing of all is the fact that the Police attended and gave pursuit but lost the culprits. This is a village! What's wrong with them? Don't they have radios, cars, even a helicopter which seems to hover frequently overhead. I almost despair that they are capable of any real action.
So, it's time to write a bit about what makes me happy: living in a beautiful part of the countryside, the passing of the seasons, snow, frost and startling sunshine. I'm easily pleased.
Some of the elms survive and people are keeping a watch on them
Startling sunshine - a village dawn