The One Tree

David Pierce Hughes, ill. Richard Perrot

Seasquirt Publications


Nov 2006

‘I knew you would not let me down. I knew that one day you would come and help me to grow back into a tall strong tree.’

This highly illustrated work paints human worries and preoccupations as transitory against the span of existence that trees have traversed. Impressive in magnitude, it charts the millions of years that trees have grown, been maligned by ice sheets and fire, but yet have struggled to survive. It maps out the millions of years over which evolution advanced. It arrives at a present day that is at once timeless and enduring.
At the heart of this present day, not far from anywhere yet near somewhere, stands a lone tree. This touching tale tells of the special kinship and closeness that develops between the tree and a boy. The tree sees the good and the utility in all things and from him the boy is able to learn and, at last, to no longer feel lonely.
When the boy and his family are due to move to a new town hundreds of miles away, the boy resolves to visit his friend one final time. Torn into the hillside, however, are deep tyre tracks and when the boy arrives, all that is left of the tree are a few roots and broken branches, the tree has been cut down.
Timescale shifts again within the work and the boy becomes a man and grows older, never able to feel fully at home or at ease. Eventually he journeys back to the site where his friend tree used to live and weeps at the memory of all they had and shared. The tears feed the earth and from it grows a shoot of a tree that grows firm and strong.
Centred around man’s relationship to his environment and the key importance of remaining responsive to this in all of our actions, ‘The One Tree’ is an unusual, highly distinctive, timeless tale. Richard Perrott’s earthy, organic illustrations wonderfully augment the story and the vivid green of new growth adds considerably to the sense of mysticism and magic engendered within nature’s vitality.

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