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A Heart in the Forest
July 13, 2012 9:18 AM   Subscribe

"Winston Howes, 70, spent a week planting each oak sapling after his wife of 33 years Janet died suddenly 17 years ago."
posted by gilrain (36 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, holy crap. Beautiful.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:19 AM on July 13, 2012


I think I have something in my eye. Allergies. From trees.

omg that is so sweet.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:20 AM on July 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


<3
posted by Maisie at 9:21 AM on July 13, 2012


It's beautiful AND a carbon sink. Wonderful!
posted by The Whelk at 9:22 AM on July 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hope it's kept up after Howes passes on, it'd be a shame for it to fall to ruin.
posted by Atreides at 9:25 AM on July 13, 2012


Guys like this should be sainted. Boom, saint.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:26 AM on July 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


It's beautiful - but I like wandering among trees, so I think I would not have put the hedge in, so that you could go from meadow into forest and back again at a whim.
posted by jb at 9:27 AM on July 13, 2012


Here it is on Google Maps
posted by odinsdream at 9:27 AM on July 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


Sniff...<3...
posted by dejah420 at 9:32 AM on July 13, 2012


It's a great story, but a train wreck of a lede.

"Winston Howes, 70, spent a week planting each oak sapling after his wife of 33 years Janet died suddenly 17 years ago."

Having to put name/age at the beginning throws out the rest of the sentence. And leaving grammatical issues aside, it's not really true.

"We got people in especially to do it - there are several thousand trees."
posted by zamboni at 9:36 AM on July 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


We can all only hope that someday someone will love us this much. (and vice versa)

Very touching.
posted by brand-gnu at 9:36 AM on July 13, 2012


A closer look
posted by incandissonance at 9:36 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here it is on Google Maps

And if you look immediately west of the meadow you can see what appears to be a Google Maps pin. Or possibly the world's largest exclamation mark.
posted by jedicus at 9:38 AM on July 13, 2012


Here it is on Google Maps

And if you look immediately west of the meadow you can see what appears to be a Google Maps pin. Or possibly the world's largest exclamation mark.


The object to which you refer looks to me like some other farmer's tribute to his wife. Or maybe his girlfriend?
posted by chavenet at 9:43 AM on July 13, 2012


It's a great story, but a train wreck of a lede.

You got that right. If he "spent a week planting each oak sapling," he is planting fifty-two saplings a year. That is a pretty meagre copse for a year's work, and I am not sure how you would spend a week planting one tree.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:46 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


About the fella who spotted it from aloft:
The transport businessman could not believe his eyes when he discovered the symbol of love hidden among the trees.

He said: "I have my own balloon and am quite a regular flyer - but this was the most amazing sight I have ever seen from the sky."
A "transport businessman" (a trucking service? logistics?) who spends his free time riding around in a hot air balloon. Transport is in his blood.

I worked for a commercial sea urchin diver who spent his free time competing in free dive spear-fishing contests.

For some people, the job really is what they are.
posted by notyou at 9:47 AM on July 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


When I die, I have instructed my wife to have my body embalmed and propped on the couch in the living room. If she gets squeamish, I suppose something like this would be acceptable.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:06 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of the wonderful story of The Man Who Planted Trees.
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:07 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Available online here.
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:10 AM on July 13, 2012


I don't know why you have to say "planting each" anyway. Can't they just say "planted an oak forest"? Forget the "week", too.

"Winston Howes, 70, spent a week planting each oak sapling after his wife of 33 years Janet died suddenly 17 years ago."

becomes the readable and understandable:

"Winston Howes, now 70, planted an oak forest in memory of his wife of 33 years Janet, who died suddenly 17 years ago."

I think the best part of this story is that he planted the "negative space" of the heart and didn't clear-cut the positive space.
posted by DU at 10:11 AM on July 13, 2012


The deal in our marriage, Slarty, is that I'm to be formed into a gemstone and made into a brooch.
posted by notyou at 10:16 AM on July 13, 2012


How tall d'you think these trees are now?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:18 AM on July 13, 2012


How tall d'you think these trees are now?

Depends a lot on the species of oak. As densely planted as they are (and judging from the shadows in the Bing maps pictures) I would guess 10-15 feet.
posted by jedicus at 10:34 AM on July 13, 2012


It has rather striking anatomical similarities
posted by Renoroc at 10:36 AM on July 13, 2012


Looks like he has a heck of a compost pile nearby too... oh, sorry, that was the nerd farmer in me speaking out...
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:49 AM on July 13, 2012


:)
posted by caddis at 10:52 AM on July 13, 2012


Some people mark the loves of their lives by carving into trees, others by planting trees. And some people see good advertising potential.
posted by Longtime Listener at 10:58 AM on July 13, 2012


Godwin's Law requires that I post this.
posted by Knappster at 11:59 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't even manage to landscape a 10'x10' area of dirt in my backyard. Well done, sir.
posted by davejay at 12:25 PM on July 13, 2012


He's gonna want to thin those trees out pretty soon. If he wants them to be proper sized oaks at least.
posted by Bonzai at 1:40 PM on July 13, 2012


When I die, I'm expecting my family will bury me as simply (read: cheaply) as possible and then get on with what they'll really be eager to do: descending on my house like a swarm of locusts, snatch whatever items they want, sell or donate whatever's left, dump my cat off at the nearest shelter, and sell the house so they can get their paws on the proceeds and take a group trip to Hawaii.
posted by orange swan at 2:01 PM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good, this hits me hard. My family was a long line of gentleman-farmer types until the two most recent generations; planting trees en masse was something done both routinely and to mark special occasions.

My aunt and uncle have been married almost 70 years; they have a wonderful allée of maple trees that they planted on their country property when they built their house as newlyweds. They are 90 now, and though their health is heartbreakingly failing, they are still living in that house with its now-magnificent maples. Their love, and their home, has truly lasted lifelong.

Almost 50 years ago, my father was planting 10 or 15 acres of red pine seedlings on a hill a fair distance from our house when my mother had a fatal heart attack with 18-month-old me in her arms. My ten-year-old sister ran to get him when my mother collapsed, but neither of them could travel fast enough by foot (or tractor) to get home in time before she passed. My father remarried -- how could he not when he had three daughters to raise -- but the second marriage had very little of the love there was in his first.

Things I wish I'd been able to do this time around. Plant trees. Find real and lasting love.

And yes, saint and bless this gentleman.
posted by vers at 2:02 PM on July 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here are some views of the project as it developed: Good on this guy. I've long thought to do something similar. My plan involves some sort of serious excavation/topography shift, so as to demand some noticeable reconnoitering of (at least) a single USGS 7.5' topographic quadrangle.

(I have plans. Trust this.)
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 10:28 PM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's acorny way to show one's love, for sure.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:15 AM on July 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


The entrance to the secret heart is only accessible from a track leading up to its tip.
Perfect.

The 'hearts' of the world are numerous, and many can see them freely, merely in walking past, or from a distance, and they can some be seen from passing cars, other times passing ships, or, as here, even passing balloons... or google earth, but there is frequently only one path to access the less obvious recesses, rest spots, beautiful vistas, special places and benches within the heart.

Nice that these folks found that 'hidden' track leading into each others' hidden heart.
posted by infinite intimation at 4:57 PM on July 14, 2012



posted by deborah at 11:25 PM on July 14, 2012


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