Conclusion: Hardy and nature In our own age, which has at last begun to think seriously about our alienation from nature and its consequences, Hardy comes over as one who wanted to protect and preserve it. He believed strongly that man was a guardian of nature and had a responsibility to look after the animal kingdom (like Gabriel Oak) and to pass it on undamaged to future generations. A good symbol of a living thing which outlasts individual human lives is a tree. In his first surviving poem, 'Domicilium', written when he was sixteen, Hardy describes an oak, 'springing from a seed/Dropped by some bird a hundred years ago', and this awareness of nature within history never left him. In The Woodlanders, Giles 'put most of these roots towards the south-west; for, he said, in forty years' time, when some great gale is blowing from that quarter, the trees will require the strongest holdfast on that side to stand against it and not fall'.