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A Tree Carving


Okay, I know the tree didn’t grow like this but it doesn’t make it any less striking. I had seen this particular carving years ago. Only over time, I had forgotten just which tree it was behind. New branches and green foliage now shelters it from the path and many eyes.

The tree itself is suffering from the ground up. Still, it has a few years left in it yet. When it does go at least it will have fed many of nature’s smallest creatures during its twilight years.

I’ve walked these woods more times than I can recall. It constantly changes. The road up to it has widened together with the large potholes. There is a defined car park, instead of just an area where you left your car. The loop with the children’s activity areas has grown and improved over the years. Although I suspect for many it would seem nothing changes here much. The truth is over time it certainly does.

Areas that once held old settlements have been unearthed and a clear space and picnic bench now sit nearby. I watch the children run around the edges of what was once someone’s dwelling and can’t help wondering what the people were like then. Did they too watch their children run around outside following butterflies and laughing at the sheer joy of life?

The woods themselves feel different. Somehow slower and quieter. Almost lazy as if in a deep sleep. Perhaps it is because the trees are now of a certain age. The movement is all at the top: blowing in the wind. Below it feels so mellow.

You can gaze out at the countryside at some spots where the lower branches of the trees were removed years ago. Close by this you round a corner and there is a rowan tree. Bright red blazing berries shock your eyes away from the various colours of green.

So much is written in our folklore about this amazing tree. From gateways to a fairy world to protection from evil. In many places, it is considered bad luck to cut down any part of a rowan tree. However, the berries can be used to make jelly and of course, there are all sorts of drinks that can be produced.

Luis, the Gaelic term for the rowan; I have used in Blàs, Roots in the Soil to describe a sacred grove. I enjoyed having an excuse to write about trees and some of their lore within my story. I’d had forgotten a lot of the old tales my mother told me when I was young. It is through these old tales often told in passing that we can find our path into the history of our past.

As we near autumn the colours of the woods and forest will soon be losing their many shades of green. You can already see some of the changes as the tips that were once so bright have started to look dry and curl. You can certainly feel the difference in the cooler mornings and nights.

A bright orange moon crested the trees the other night bring it home that the evenings are also turning. Gone are the long bright nights. Darkness is seeping back in with the aurora borealis brightening up by the evenings as it streaks across the sky. Stars can now be seen again twinkling above on a clear night.

There is so much to look forward to as we say goodbye to summer. Warm fires and cozy nights sitting watching the weather hammering at the window. The perfect excuse to curl up and read a book. The numerous celebrations that keep us all going between September and February.

I will say farewell to summer this year without the loss and concern I felt last year at this time. I will look forward to the many forest walks I will take. The crisp mornings and the fresh days. The copper colours and the dark sky.

I will watch the trees going to sleep, dozing through the winter months until their sap rises for another year. I’ll rejoice as their new buds slowly return in spring and wonder again at how amazing nature can be.


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