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Our garden is dominated by two large oaks. They protect us from winter winds and dapple the lawn with cooling shade in summer before discarding their cloak of leaves, covering the ground in deep drifts, enriching the soil.

They rustle with life. Squirrels chase each other with stupendous agility across the time-furrowed bark, insects swarm around the trunks feeding the birds that enthral us with song from high in the branches.

These trees are the first things we see when we wake. The canopies fill the frame of our bedroom window with an intertwined filigree of limbs, branches and twigs; and colour our vision green when in heavy summer leaf, the sun dashing through gaps as the breeze gives them sway.

I often stand below their mass, marvelling at their strength and longevity. At well over a century old they had germinated before any person now alive on this planet had been born. The first fifty-odd years were probably spent in a glade of many other trees, the area is called Derwen Fawr (Large Oak) in recognition of their pre-building site command of this domain.

Their company has gradually dwindled through age, disease and clearance to a stand of five or six. But our borrowed oaks (for it would be ridiculous to own something so much greater than yourself) are safe for now under their tree preservation orders.

They should need no protection from comparatively insignificant beings, their majesty surpassing all our brief meanderings. These are lives on a different timescale and they will most likely see us all off and continue with serene existence, marking their progress by patiently adding a layer a year.

A few of those layers may record the happy cries of our children as they played in the garden, or the whisperings of adults sat on a swinging chair in the late afternoon sunshine once upon a time, taking us into the future, safe inside them.

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