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  • In the forest behind my house there's a railway line. It was completed in 1863. And it has an old stone-built bridge over it. I presume all the bridges would have been constructed around the same time as the railway.

    Oak trees. They're big things, especially old ones, and you can age them by their girth. Around seven feet is about 80 years old. Ten feet would equate to 140 years or so. Twelve feet might be 180 years old.

    And so, when I first encountered this scene I was puzzled. This tree is big. Quite a good few decades of big held within its bark.

    And so each time I pass on my mountainbike I contemplate.................

    Did the oak tree grow there by chance?

    It is perfectly centred on the bridge, how much of a coincidence is that?

    Was it planted after the bridge was built?

    If so why did boots crossing the bridge not crush it?

    Was the tree there first?

    If so how do you build a bridge and not crush an oak sapling?

    How many people chose not to cut this tree down?

    Whatever is the real truth of all this is irrelevant. I simply cross the bridge, bid hello to the oak tree, and retain my sense of wonder.
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