Do the trees, in full leaf, find their canopies burdensome? Is it a strain for their branches to hold up such large leafy heads?

The flame tree, that I’ve watched come into leaf so gradually, is now in full dress. The melia, whose sprouting branches I charted in spring, is bushy and full. So far, so good. But when I took a walk past the park, a woman danced towards me on the street with strange gestures, uttering an odd cry. Did I know her? No, but she’d just got a fright.

As she walked past the park, she heard a crash. Turning her head she saw that a branch had just fallen from a large leafy lime tree. ‘Look, there it is’, she said. I was amazed to see the size of the branch, the large tear in it, and the tree. We speculated on what had brought the branch down, and could find no answer. It’s not as if the day was windy; in fact the air was still and humid. There hadn’t even been a recent storm. And the branch looked perfectly healthy.

As I walked away I began to muse on the consequences of being in full leaf: parents with many children who are all reaching maturity; wealth that becomes a burden; bloated economies, global warming . . . Not that the tree fell into these categories. Maybe it was simply too successful in putting out its head of leaves, or maybe the branch stretched out too far from the main trunk – out on a limb, so to speak. My mother’s voice in my head had the final word: ‘You can have too much of a good thing.’