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Tree Expression

I am feeling very proud of myself. We are in mid-April and this is my first picture of a tree this year. You can see even the tree appears surprised, given the expression, it seems to be pulling. I couldn’t just walk past when it was so clearly trying to grab my attention.

I suppose the reason that I haven’t taken many tree pictures yet is due to all the editing I have been doing lately. Grumpa wasn’t so bad, it is a children’s book after all so the word count wasn’t too great. That is not to say it required little effort. Given it has a smaller word count than that of an adult book it still required the same amount of diligence and effort to get it right. Blàs; Roots in the Soil with its near 80,000 words has taken a lot longer. But I am nearly there.

To some extent my need to embrace trees was already being fulfilled as the plot in Blàs; Roots in the Soil involves these amazing plants. This time the community is forced into buying their local woods, hence the title. Of course, the other meaning I am trying to evoke is the attachment and sense of belonging the inhabitants of Blàs feel about their little village and community.

This is all interspersed with all kinds of shenanigans, including being swamped by a too-generous gift of apples, the finding of an ancient skull rumoured to bring bad luck, the introduction of some lovable dogs and the filming of a television series.

All these events are intertwined with local customs and traditions. The quirky characters as always, are heavily involved and enjoying being part of it all. Basically, though, the story is about understanding, the love the community shares for each other and their compassion for all their individual little foibles. I hope it leaves the reader with that feel-good factor. And maybe a little insight into some aspects of the lives of those who live and work in the Highlands or other rural parts of our beautiful country.

Interwoven throughout the story are the folklore and mystical beliefs behind some of our most enduring trees. A few of these traditions are still apparent today. How many of you out there have a hawthorn or rowan tree at your front or back doors for example? Originally they weren’t planted just to look bonnie, these trees had another purpose, to ward off evil spirits.

A large number of our native trees hold treasures beyond the fact there are enormous bonnie plants. Our Gaelic alphabet for instance only has eighteen letters, each letter is represented by a native tree. How amazing is that? You can learn your ABC plus the names of our trees.

Perhaps if we learnt more in conjunction with our plants and animals as we grew, we would have taken better care of our planet. But I live in hope that many more people have woken up and realised how a healthy planet reflects our own health and wellbeing.

Whatever else I may feel I know a walk around the woods however small leaves me with a feeling of being connected to nature. The scent of the ground, the flashes of colour now creeping through and the feel of the bark all help that connection. I haven’t even mentioned the amazing birdsong at this time of year. Where would they be without the trees to flirt amongst?

Anyway, I have a sneaking feeling that I may be spending a bit too much time this year looking for faces on trees. I’m pretty sure I saw one with a nose this morning. I didn’t take a picture, yet. But I am not promising that it won’t show up on here sometime soon.

For anyone that travels the Perth to Dundee road, there is a field near Perth that has a broken tree. It has been like that for years. I kept promising myself I would stop and photograph it each time we passed it, as it immediately sparked my imagination. I always fancied it looked like some mystical woodland fairy with her head bowed. It hadn’t changed for years but last time I passed that way it had disintegrated somewhat. It is so long since I been in that area but I am hoping it is still there. Next time I can, I will try and stop and take a picture before it goes completely.

I hope you all have a tree-mendous week.

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