Putting things in perspective

I was in Kew Gardens yesterday, where I was really struck by the juxtaposition of the Lucombe Oak and an Airbus A380 passing overhead on its way to landing in Heathrow.

The Lucombe Oak in Kew dates to 1773 and is thought to be one of Lucombe’s original seedlings.

We live in a rapidly changing world, our lives permeated and saturated with all sorts of technology and devices. Yet this image sums up what a recent development all of these things are, just a blink in the life time of this tree.

The Lucombe Oak predates radio, television and the internet. It also started growing before the French revolution, the industrial revolution had yet to get underway (although it was not far off, James Watt patented a steam engine that produced continuous rotary motion in 1781), penicillin had not yet been discovered. It would be another 130 years before two bike mechanics in Dayton, Ohio would succeed in their attempts at launching their powered and controlled flying machine. No cars, no bicycles.. come to that. All European monarchies were still going strong, the map of the world looking very different from today.

From seedling to mature tree, this very tree has been witness to all of these and many others momentous changes and developments that have shaped this anthropocene age…

Talk about putting things in perspective!