Trees in lockdown became a metaphor for movement and the tangle of life during this time. Musing about them can bring us connection and clarity.
They make journeys through millennia and across vast distances, sending their seeds and pollen on the wind & the legs of insects. Inviting animals to live inside them and carry their seeds by foot or wing to a place they choose to settle. Maybe a mile away, maybe thousands, maybe to an island in the middle of the ocean.
All this time they’ve been experimenting with different ways to have sex- with themselves and with each other. Laying down new roots and creating new freedoms, providing homes for the creatures that will help them travel agin; cutting ‘apron strings’.
Looking at satellite photos I see rivers sculpting trees on the landscape, tributaries branching out. But with rivers the water flows the opposite way from high to low, always seeking fellow waters to join. Trees, by contrast pump water from root to leaf, seeking altitude and travelling in the air. Maybe the vapours are following the seeds.
Here are some of the trees we sent to each other from our physically disconnected worlds.
Tree standing alone noble connected to the field where you belong on a gentle slope short distance from hawthorn hedge, seed blown by Mother Nature's spiritual wind to the place she wanted you to take root and grow. Destiny. Maura O'Neill
A selection of photos by Maura, Anna & Gail
Walk with native Irish trees along the river willows overhang saileach, sallies, pliant wands for osiers nearby, alders keep their feet in water shaking aspens, cran creathac, give their name to Glencree, Glan Critheac quaking valley where my friend lives shows us her fairy tree, hawthorn early blossom we may not bring indoors. Druids know oak groves are sacred places of wisdom, rituals, sacrifice rowan trees have powers of enchantment hazel wands divine where water lies hazel scrub with holly form understorey for taller forest trees. On my way back I hug an old Scots pine recall a walk under an arch of yews towards the alter, a giant tree, two thousand years of age, still standing there. Lives of trees and people intertwine rooted in cycles of the natural world. Rosy Wilson
Sunday morning cycle Riding over those hills again I, the sun light and air Roll out June’s royal carpet Bright green after rain Birch, pine, rhododendron Each leaf and petal’s droplet Its tiny captured spectrum Recycles a shining shower World has sprung to life again Free-wheeling around the park Greet walkers, joggers, fellow cyclists Blackbirds, brown cows, red deer Goldfinch, blue tit, iridescent cock Pheasants calling, soloist skylark Soaring, jackdaws show their mettle I step harder on the pedals Push on up to the top of the morning Patrick Wilson
Autumn photos in Horniman Gardens by Ruth
Here we go again... leaves shed by sleepy trees whirl by in a blustery gale rain spills from gutters, glossy berries, bitter sloes, glisten. Here we go again... on parole in our own homes plagued by uncertainty the wind sucks noisily on the stove pipe, scatters countless ripe acorns in the grass. Judy Russell
Tree sketches by Anna pencil and charcoal
A tree blasted by lightening Many years ago, Still stands testament To its oak nature stubbornness. In Carlow county sunshine, Captured on canvas Its mighty energy prevails As local legend status. Gail Varian
Weather I I stand hand heavy and watch As the wind strips the blossom from the trees And tiny flecks of cradle cap spiral in the breeze I long to catch and re attach each one But summer lumbers on The dry grass cracks and once transparent leaves Harden into cataracts Your finger and thumb come together and the heavy bud head snaps. Deftly we defy life as we dip each head in sugar syrup and watch the crystals form. I live in a kitchen Protected by an apron Yet I keep half an eye out for a storm. **** This is not a fairy tale You can wander in a damp wood and Stumble upon a raspberry bush Studded with red fruit Pick a few Take them home for your sweetheart and you Can look up Catch a glimpse of resin glazing deep grey bark This is not a fairy tale I can still feel the rough bark tingling on my palm I uncup my hand to find three berries nestling there Soft as baby mice. I tell you this is not a fairy tale And an old tree will bear fruit. Andrea Morreau
Tree drawings by Andrea
Recommended Tree Reading