Retroladytyping …

The Special One

mixedWhen we are out walking and need to consult an ordnance survey map, I have an aversion to those areas which are designated as ‘plantation’. Those tall, thin regimented groups of evergreens seem incongruous in a natural environment.   So, if possible, we avoid them, preferring the  randomness of the fluffy clouds of deciduous woodland, with their wild undergrowth, twisted branches, hanging leaves and individual beauty.

Sometimes it has to be done. There is no feasible way round.   Occasionally, however, a fluffy cloud reveals itself amongst  the ranks of the plantation, the fluffiness a cover for its strength in standing alone amongst  the regularity of its surroundings.   It may be crooked; it may not have leaves; the branches may protrude at random angles; the trunk, instead of standing tall, may lean to one side, with broken branches having almost given up, but hanging on regardless of the controlled environment around it.

It is there: noticeable and special. It is strong enough to stand amongst the ordered ranks of those selected to be in the plantation.  It hasn’t needed controlling, nurturing or special consideration; it goes its own way and flourishes, ignored by all the others, but there and noticeable because it doesn’t conform. I saw a tree like this yesterday. I remember it, not standing as tall as the others, but an individual with  its differences displayed. It had escaped the pressures imposed by those who sought to cultivate what they saw as a worthwhile, valuable crop. If it is allowed to develop, it will become stronger, develop blossom, leaves and maybe fruit. The others will be cut down, sold and used. Their worth will be tangible and quantifiable. The individual, special one will not have a measurable worth, but will stand alone, proud and admired amongst all the blandness of the plantation.

Substitute the word academy for plantation, student for tree, exam results for crop, and maybe that is the future for our children’s education.   I hope not.


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