|A sentinel, guarding the upper moor, the oak tree stood proudly atop Demdyke Hill; its gnarly presence reassuring. For generations, young and old had enjoyed its shade in the heat of summer, had sheltered beneath its verdant canopy when the sky grew dark with rain.
No living person could possibly remember its youth; when centuries ago a tiny acorn, blown on the wind, had settled on the hilltop. But the tree bore memories. It bore the scars of the battle that took place on the hillside many centuries ago, when sword blades cut into its trunk and blood spattered its roots.
It withstood the rumble of tanks, churning the soil, as troops prepared to go into battle across the seas, many never to return. It overlooked the hunt and hid the fox. Its roots were strong, both in the soil and in the hearts of men.
Once alone, surrounded by the mellow green of rolling hills and dales, in recent times it found itself surrounded. Human occupation spread its roots with stone and brick and slate. The old oak had new found companions. Tiny feet slithered over its strong limbs, as youngsters hid within its leafy bows.
Then the bulldozer came.
Men in hard hats circled the tree while those with placards fought its cause. With memories long, they voiced their disapproval at the tree's fate. The oak was shaken to its leaves as the noise built to a battle cry - "Save Our Tree."
Alas its fate was sealed. Men with chainsaws stood where little feet had trod. The old tree made a groaning noise as one by one its limbs fell to the ground. I cried as the blade cut into its trunk and screamed as it fell. It struggled to keep its roots firmly anchored but the bulldozer won.
The old oak still stands atop Demdyke Hill, but as window frames and roof trusses. It still gives shelter from the sun and rain but only to the family that dwell within.