Trees have been on this planet before humans evolved and since then they have been crucial to our continuing existence.
This blog is my way of expressing gratitude and deep thanks for their beauty, grace, support and power that we have all come to depend upon and probably taken for granted.
Trees have always been in my life although at times often unacknowledged and unrecognised.
As a child trees were part of my playground. Going into the local woods to make dens or to swing across streams hanging onto a knotted rope that was, hopefully, firmly attached to a sturdy limb of a tree. I remember helping my father saw planks of wood, my job was blowing away the sawdust from the cutting line. The smell of sawdust is still a potent reminder of childhood memories.
Local woods, near my grandparents, the Wenallt, was a favourite family walk – playing hide and seek and trying to be the first to spot a squirrel.
Up in the Arctic circle, in Finland, dog sledding from cabin to cabin, trees and especially their wood were vital for our survival. Making a fire in a dug out hole in the deep snow to warm a meal was heaven in temperatures of minus 24°. In the overnight log cabins, the log burner burned ferociously to provide warmth and hot water.
In Namibia I learnt about the Mopane tree and how they communicated with each other to warn neighbouring trees of the browsing giraffes. The trees would create a chemical defence to deter hungry animals
For me there is stillness, a majesty about trees. Calmly just being, watching patiently as all life goes on around them. Have you ever sat by an ancient oak or beech and wondered how much they have witnessed in their life times? The wars, the destruction of forests, the storms and winds – all manner of life passing by them over centuries. How some of them have survived is beyond my comprehension.
More recently my appreciation of trees has deepened spiritually. As a shaman we believe that everything has a spirit which includes trees. You may be aware of the energy that trees emit and how it feels to sit alongside a tree, being part of its energetic field.
In my shamanic practice trees provide a gateway, an axis mundi, to the spiritual worlds in which I work, seek guidance and receive support. Before I communicate or work with trees I always ask their permission- it is not my right just to take and use.
Folk lore and ancestors were in tune with trees, knowing how to respect and live in harmony, keeping in balance our needs but maintaining their growth and existence (until today). My birth tree is the Elder – a magical and spiritual mother tree symbolising good health and prosperity.
HONOUR TO THE ELDER
I honour the Elder, which sees the end from beginning
Throughout many live times I have been here
I have the knowledge that I have changed myself again & again
I will start from where I am now, and continue to persist in my path
I will succeed
So mote it be
In the BBC Radio programme Something Understood, A Walk in the Woods, Rikke Houd explores the tranquilly of getting lost yet finding oneself amongst the trees.
Walking through woods, I listen to the rustling of the leaves as they communicate with each other; admire their strength, persistence and determination to keep going in adversity. Maybe that is why I am in awe of trees they teach us so much and we can’t live without them although they can live without us!
“And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees and changing leaves!” Virginia Woolf