A Bit of Good News - "He who plants a tree, plants a hope"
December 21, 2023 - Vol. 2, Issue 46
Mind the gap
In late September, vandals felled the Sycamore Gap Tree near Crag Lough in Northumberland, England. Four people were later arrested for the crime.
The 50 ft. sycamore, which had stood in a dip on Hadrian's Wall for more than two centuries, was so striking that it became one of the most photographed trees in the U.K. Walkers trekked halfway along the 80-mile wall just to see the iconic tree. People spread their loved ones' ashes near its trunk; couples became engaged under its branches. The sycamore was also known as the Robin Hood Tree after it appeared in the 1991 film "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," starring Kevin Costner.
And then, in the middle of the night, it was cut down. So why am I writing about it in a newsletter focused on good news? Because despite this terrible act of destruction, I remain optimistic. A manager at the National Trust said the tree's stump might just be healthy enough to regrow. Seeds and cuttings were collected and they're being used to propagate new saplings.
"[We] are encouraged by positive signs of life, and are hopeful that over 30 percent of the mature seeds and half of the cuttings (scions) will be viable," Andy Jasper, the National Trust's director of gardens and parklands, told NPR.
The National Trust and Northumberland National Park are currently working on plans to make a fitting tribute to the tree. Details of how people can get involved will be announced early next year. The public is also being urged to submit their memories and photos. These items will be used to create exhibitions and possibly even a 3D imaging of the tree.
While I'm heartbroken by the harm that was inflicted on the Sycamore Gap Tree -- and to all of the people who loved it -- I'm also heartened by the plans for its future. And on this winter solstice, the longest night of the year, I'm reminded that even in the darkest times, there is hope that things can get better.
FMI: Click here.
(Note: Newsletter’s title quote is by Lucy Larcom.)
Sometimes you save lives, sometimes you just protect them
When children become sick, it's up the parents to ease the pain, lend comfort and help to keep boredom at bay. But what happens when Mom or Dad takes ill? One 33-year-old California woman in Los Banos, Calif., recently found out.
Karen Garcia was 35 weeks pregnant when she woke up at 4 a.m. suffering from vertigo. As the room spun, the nausea she felt soon turned to vomiting. By the time her three children -- ages 8, 9 and 11 -- woke up at 7 a.m., she was exhausted and on the bathroom floor.
The kids discovered her there and knew she needed help. Garcia called 911, then gave the phone to the children to explain the situation. Once the first responders arrived and decided to take Garcia to the hospital, they also realized someone needed to stay behind and care for the children until a family member could arrive an hour later.
So, the crew from Engine 1 of the Los Banos Fire Department helped the kids remain calm and get ready for school. Cpt. Brian Thompson made them breakfast. And when the firefighters received an emergency call 30 minutes later, a Los Banos police officer came to the house and watched cartoons with them until their uncle arrived.
FMI: Click here.
Polly Anderson's Christmas party
I'm a huge fan of the old CBC radio program, "The Vinyl Cafe," which was hosted by the late, great Stuart McLean. How big of a fan? Well, I own all the CDs. I own all of the books. I attended two of his Christmas shows (one in the U.S. and one in Canada). I used one of his stories in my wedding vows. And I've been a subscriber to the podcast, "Backstage at the Vinyl Cafe,” hosted by his long-suffering producer Jess Milton, since it launched in 2021. If you enjoy listening to good stories, check it out.
In the meantime, here's a holiday classic about Canada’s favorite fictional family. I listen to it every year on Christmas eve:
LAST WEEK’S POLL
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
The Holiday Wish Line is open! From now until Dec. 31, call (480) 914-9474 (WISH) if you need a break from holiday stress and to hear messages from Make-a-Wish kids.
FMI: Click here.
* Gazing at the beautifully decorated Christmas trees
* Drinking big mugs of hot cocoa
* Baking, and then eating, a Yule log
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?" --Bob Hope
MOMENT OF GRATITUDE
Thanks to Mark McNeill, Unsplash, The New York Times, Northumberland National Park, the BBC, The Guardian, NPR, YouTube, Sky News, the National Trust, Facebook, the Los Banos Fire Department, KTVU, The Washington Post, The Vinyl Cafe, Backstage at the Vinyl Cafe, CBC News, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Kisoulou and Deposit Photos for art and story suggestions.
KEEP IN TOUCH
Read a positive/uplifting news story lately? Have an inspiring quote you want to share? Or do you just want to let me know about some of your favorite simple pleasures?
SUPPORT A BIT OF GOOD NEWS
Like this newsletter? Please forward it to your friends and encourage them to sign up.
A Bit of Good News is a reader-supported newsletter featuring positive news stories. Subscriptions are only $5/month, or $50/year. Everyone who purchases a subscription will be automatically entered into a monthly giveaway for books, gift certificates and other prizes.