Greenwood Tree


Our story of the week is a calm story from the writer Sarah Dale.

Sarah started writing seriously some years ago and self-published two non-fiction books, Keeping Your Spirits Up, and Bolder and Wiser. The latter won an Indie Brag award. She is currently in her second year of the MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck University.

Sarah has stories published in Bandit Fiction, the Mechanics Institute Review #15, Fiction Pool, the Letters Page and Nottingham Writers’ Studio journal. She is also an occupational psychologist who runs her own practice in Nottingham.

In Greenwood Tree, Sarah brings us back to our roots and reminds us of those timeless moments that bring us so much peace.


When I was a child, I used to lie under the huge conker trees that edged the caravan park. I watched the dark dense mass of leaves stir and lift. I breathed deeply. As the sun set, the light caught on the upper branches – so far up, touching the sky – filling me with ideas and possibilities, of where my life might lead.

“Oh, there you are, you daydreamer,” my Mum would say, smiling, coming to ask me to help her prepare the dinner, or to say we were about to go out. I’d go with her, a piece of me storing the images, the precise shades of green, of dark and light, for recalling in times when I felt lonely or frightened.

Time passed. At school I read Shakespeare and learned by heart a poem about lying under trees. I learned about biology, about phloem and xylem, about the placement of leaves being perfectly adapted to catch maximum sunlight, about the power shade produced by the absorption of the sun’s energy. I learned about the constant hidden motion, about the cycle of carbon and oxygen. I learned how long such trees could live – centuries – and I collected conkers each autumn.Read more…