The Oak Papers by James Canton

The Oak Papers by James Canton

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This book is a homage to the oak tree and the important role it plays today, in our landscape and in our lives.

James Canton spent two years sitting with and studying the ancient Honywood Oak, Markshall Estate. A colossus of a tree, it would have been a sapling when the Magna Carta was signed. Inevitably he needs to slow down in order to appreciate it fully, to tune in to its slower time frame, to connect with the ecosystem that lives around it, inside it and beneath it. 

This leads him to investigate our long-standing dependency on the mighty oak, and how this has developed and morphed into myth and legend. We no longer build our houses and boats from them, use them to fuel our fires; physically, we don’t need them in the same way now. Or do we? 

Scientists are only now beginning to discover the ways in which trees can communicate and support each other through their root systems, yet we have forgotten much of the cultural ties that connect us to the oak. 

Blending personal experience with cultural legacy, The Oak Papers is a meditative and healing book about the lessons we can learn from the natural world, if only we slow down enough to listen.