The Comfort of Trees

It’s extremely windy here today on this late summer day. The colour of the sky and the dip in the temperature warns me that Autumn is approaching. Normally I would be out walking early in the morning, but as the grey light filtered through the window and the rain pattered hard on the glass I preferred the comfort of my cosy bedroom and a hot cup of tea. Looking out, I could see the flock of crows flying haphazardly in the wind, their raucous noise silenced for once. I wondered where the friendly blackbird was – I have often seen him flying in and out of the garden, sometimes stopping to perch on the shed roof or rustle around in the flowers beds. I miss his sound and his company; he has been singing beautifully recently, even in the early hours. I hope he will return. I have been lucky to spot a song thrush recently too. In Irish mythology it is said that the fairies, the underground people, like to keep song thrushes at the gates to their underworld, because they like the sound of the music echoing down their long halls.

There is a sycamore tree at the end of the garden and I lay watching its sturdy branches swaying in the breeze. Maybe my blackbird sits hidden in its comforting branches.

I once read an article about the healing power of trees and learned that sacred trees with healing powers are found in every culture and age, and seen as a gift from the Earth Goddess. I was urged to go out and find a tree I was particularly drawn to and sit and lean against its trunk. This I did (feeling a little silly). But as the sun filtered through the leaves and my feet connected with the earth, it did feel like a positive experience.

Now, with the world feeling so different it is these simple acts that can help us feel more connected with nature, with the essence of life, and the healing power of our Earth. Our surroundings have been far more quiet lately, but now as we emerge and adapt, we can hold on to the stillness when we need to.

Here are a few of my poems about trees….

The Tree
Just off the path in the leafy wood
Stands an old majestic tree,
Its branches spread like open arms
Reaching out to me.

There’s a canopy high above my head
With leaves of green or gold,
Depending on the time of year -
The seasons that unfold.

I can lean against the roughened bark,
Plant my feet upon the ground,
And feel the gnarled and twisted roots
That are circled all around.

And I can dream of all that happens here
As I lay tucked up in my bed,
Hear the hooting owl who roosts aloft
And nods his wise old head.

I think the fairies alight there
After their midnight flight
From their magic city underground,
To frolic through the night.

And in the early morning sun,
Like a landmark to show the way
The tree stands in the breaking light 
Of yet another day.

Leafy boughs dip and bow
And freshen the dampened air;
They bend to sweep the forest floor,
So tread softly if you dare.
Where I’d Like to Be

I’d like to be up
In my favourite tree
Where the wind whispers
 Through the beech leaves
And sounds like softly falling rain.
Here, the wise old owl
Looks benignly on
The troubled ground
As if he knows
The world will heal again.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A Walk in a Different Springtime.

Lifting Our Mood in Challenging Times …reposting a blog from last spring , with a few changes …..

Now more than ever, the benefits of getting out into the countryside are immense. The  allotted hour in the green fields manages to lift the spirits for a while at least. Pathways are lined with burgeoning cow parsley and the gentle scent of lilac and hawthorn fills the air as nature carries on regardless. No need here for a ticking clock to hasten the plants and trees to blossom  – they know when the conditions are right.

It’s always a comfort to see the same trees along the way standing stoically strong; their trunks immovable and their roots firmly planted alongside the fields where we often walk deep in thought. I am particularly fond of a tree I have yet to identify (possibly beech, though the leaves appear to be heart shaped) which I pass on my newly favourite walk, (having moved here eighteen months ago, its taken a while to find a regular walk I really enjoy and have settled on), the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves sounds just like a fall of gentle rain, and high on the trunk is a hole where you can imagine a friendly, wise old owl holding court. How many footsteps must have passed by this ancient tree over hundreds of years and how many more still will? I can sense a benevolent charm in its being and almost see a kindly expression in the depths of its bark. And then I can look up and see its lofty branches reaching for the light. It knows what to do, my tree, it doesn’t need a set of rules or list of suggested requirements for better tree development.

I am a bit of a scaredy cat – I have even written a book about a scaredy cat. I am a person who has to cling on tight to the things I hold dear in times of strain and here is where I find nature has a way of literally grounding me. We may not know why things are happening the way they are, and we may have many questions in our minds left unanswered, but we can, at least for a while, soak up the healing powers of nature. I can’t recall a time the countryside has ever looked more beautiful, or the birdsong more prolific, but maybe the spring has a way of renewing our outlook and refreshing our surroundings so that every time we revisit it is like the first time.

In some ways, it feels as though we can breathe in new life from the abundance around us and renew our hope for the future, and that has never been more important than now.

So when we are being a scaredy cat – and that’s probably quite a lot of us at the moment I don’t doubt, it is good to look at all the signs around us and take the reassurance that everything turns and moves and goes full circle. When I was out striding about, I could almost hear Pamona the wood nymph, who was reputed to be the goddess of fruitful abundance, talking to me with all her ancient and modern wisdom. I certainly felt she was making me welcome – her light laugh mingling with the surrounding sounds.

I think she was saying “I do love this time of year best, although I shouldn’t have favourites; it is dear to me because it is all about life – and the promise of good things to come later. And remember, dear one, no winter lasts forever.”

And that is what I feel we need to remember – good things will come.

And even if we are walking alone at the present time, remember that love knows no distance; when you think of those you love, and those who love you, it is almost as though they are there beside you.

 

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