Three Trees


(One day I sat beneath the spreading branches of this fig tree, seeking solace, looking out towards the water where the ducks cavorted, and after a time, solace came to me….)

One of the prompts from Cricket’s Slice Of Life this week is Mother Nature.

If you haven’t tried Slice Of Life yet why not give it a go? It’s a bit like writing your memoirs. This is a story about three trees and the power of nature.

Sometimes it’s all I can do to keep the big sadness at bay. Once I felt more desolate than I ever have before. It was after my beloved Irish Grandmother had died. Seven years ago. She was 94 and had lived an exultant life but I wanted her to live forever.

My mother had flown to Ireland when she heard my Gran was ill. I got the dreaded call at 3AM telling me she had passed away. I had tried to call my Gran all week, just to say I love you one more time but the hospital had failed to put me through. So I didn’t get to speak to her before she died. I didn’t get to see her before she died.

The funeral was hard. It was bleak. It was raining but over 400 people showed up at the tiny stone Church. If only a quarter of that number turn up to my funeral I would feel I had lived a good life.

Despite the rain I remember feeling unaccountably thirsty. A weariness descended like mist. I walked to a copse of oak trees, seeking shelter, seeking solace. And amidst the trees I found it. Carved there, almost high enough to be out of reach, out of sight, so that only the birds could see – crude, transitory, a revelation. Bridget loves this tree. And the date, 1925. Still there after all that time. My Grandmother would have been in her late teens when she carved that. Full of the hope, optimism and joy that sustained her throughout her life. That tree made me feel that everything would be all right.

The second tree is a tree I often sit against when I need to clear my head. A Moreton Bay Fig. It stands majestic and solid in the local park, on the water’s edge, branches hanging out over the bay. The canopy is so thick the rain is soft underneath it, just a suggestion, like the touch of fingertips. I go there and sit when things seem too much, when my thoughts are in tatters. And there, on the mossy groundcover, in the watery green light, clarity returns. That tree is better than any tonic.

The third tree is a new tree, only planted yesterday. A gorgeous little Japanese maple, delicate as a newborn baby, little leaves turned up like cups, collecting rainwater and glimpses of sun. Planted for someone who won’t see it in this world, but hopefully is seeing it right now from the new world she inhabits. Planted with love and ceremony for my friend, Andie. A tree for her, a tree for the family left behind offering them comfort. Offering them solace. I hope that as it grows her children will sit beneath it, finding shade, finding shelter, that they will remember what they loved best about her.

The power of mother nature cannot be discounted. The trees hold magic in their branches, telling secrets, offering a balm against emptiness with a purity and force that is constant and true. Theirs is a gift as precious as life. They make up the landscape, distinct as memory. In silhouette they almost look human. Their silence is a kind of eloquence. The vastness of their trunks is home.

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20 thoughts on “Three Trees

  1. “I go there and sit when things seem too much, when my thoughts are in tatters. And there, on the mossy groundcover, in the watery green light, clarity returns. That tree is better than any tonic.”

    I need to find a tree like that !!

    Excellent post. I am always transported by your words.

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  2. I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating….I feel such a connection with you Selma, via your thoughts and beautiful writing.

    this was absolutely wonderful to read; touching, evocative,very meaningful to me at the space/place I am in my life right now. thank you for sharing this and sending a big hug your way. G

    http://www.mypoeticpath.wordpress.com

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  3. i am not a nature girl by any stretch of the imagination,, but i do have an affinity for trees… i feel as if they have a life of their own,, something to say,, and i don’t know why but i feel them more than anything else in nature… this was a lovely post,, and i can feel the love you feel for the peace offered you by these trees….

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  4. So often we think of Mother Nature as bringing tragedy to our lives in the form of tornados, floods, hurricanes and earthquakes. Thank you for reminding us Mother Nature provides us a bounty of goodness. I too love trees, especially apple trees.

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  5. An absolutely charming work! For reasons I’d rather not put in writing, I’m going to let that be my comment. Too many unhappy memories to deal with right now. I, too, planted trees, and they flouished, but I’d rather not tell the story, not now.

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  6. Near where my daughters go to their dance classes there are these huge ancient trees lining the river bank and I quite often find myself sitting beneath their massive branches. I’ve never really understood the comfort I derive from them but perhaps it’s because they have stood the test of time and all that nature has thrown at them and yet still they stand, tall and strong.

    Selma, this might seem weird but for some reason I feel worried about you. Is everything ok? I was also wondering about Cecile as that particular post really stayed with me for days.

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  7. Ah, the power of trees. They have an ability to give us solace . I used to think I was the only person who felt this until I began to talk about trees. I’ve had many favourites over time … some have disappeared. But the memory of them stays – I just need to close my eyes and I can conjure them back.

    Now I have trees along the river where I take the dog to swim. I stand under one and throw sticks to the dog – he never tires of swimming … it does my soul good .

    As long as we have these places to go, things will be okay.

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  8. You’ve captured some of the wonderful magic of mother nature (and trees).

    And what a gift to find your grandmother’s carving! Such connections to our loved ones are priceless.

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  9. Trees have a wisdom that passes the ages, or so it feels to me. I love to go into the rain forests here and share the energy from the ancient trees living there. Doing this always snaps me into focus and helps me realize what is truly important. It is always such a nurturing experience.

    Planting a tree for your friend and her family seems so perfect. Thanks for the beautiful uplifting post!

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  10. Trees

    I think that I shall never see
    A poem lovely as a tree.

    A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
    Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

    A tree that looks at God all day, 5
    And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

    A tree that may in summer wear
    A nest of robins in her hair;

    Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
    Who intimately lives with rain.

    Poems are made by fools like me,
    But only God can make a tree.

    –Joyce Kilmer. 1886–1918

    inspiring post, Selma. Thanks, DavidM

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  11. Inspiring, as usual.

    We had a peach tree in our yard when I was young. It wasn’t very large so it was easy to climb unto with a book and a snack. It’s long gone now, but it will always be a part of me.

    Thank you, again, for sharing.

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  12. MELEAH – awww, thank you so much. I was thinking about you just today, hoping you are enjoying your holiday. Have fun!

    GERALDINE – there is definitely a link. No doubt about it. Hugs to you too!

    PAISLEY – I do love my trees. There is something ancient and serene about them.

    CRICKET – oh, you can’t beat a good apple tree. The smell, the colour. Wonderful!

    MARY – no need to tell it now. So great to hear from you!

    GYPSY – you are one of the most sensitive people ever. I have had a bit of a tough week for various reasons. (Too much work, mainly.) I have rung Cecile’s Mum and she has arrived safely but doesn’t want to talk right now. Thank you so much for caring. It means the world to me. XX00XX00XX

    KATE – you have conjured up such a lovely image of you walking along the riverbank with your dog. I know I’ll often think of you like that now. And you’re right – as long as we have those places to go, all will be well.

    AINE – thank you so much for visiting. That carving was indeed priceless. I felt like I’d been led there, strange as it sounds.

    KAYT – oh, definitely. The wisdom in trees is almost palpable. I used to climb them as a kid and just sit there for hours. It was bliss!

    DAVID – what would I do without your lovely poems? You always choose the best ones. Thank you so much!

    EMPLOYEE – Thank you so much for visiting. Ah, a peach tree. How glorious. What a wonderful image of you sitting in the peach tree with a book and a snack. That is brilliant!

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  13. ANTHONY – you are so kind to me. You are a brilliant person. It’s funny, when I wrote this post I kept thinking of that Spike Milligan song he used to sing in ‘The Goons.’ “I talk to the trees, that’s why they put me away…” Hehehe. It’s been in my head for days. That said, I also love trees!

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  14. Nature is my solace, the thing that helps me rationalise and put things into perspective. Your post was a pleasure to read, very eloquently written and produced some delightful images in my mind.

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  15. INSPIRATION – I so agree with you about nature. Getting close to the earth helps me in so many ways. I am really grateful for your lovely comment.

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  16. KATE – I got an email from them yesterday. I am absolutely thrilled. Thank you so much to whoever nominated me. It is such an honour!

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  17. Wish i was poet so i could express my love for trees as beautifully as so many other people could …

    All i could say is that i love trees .. i talk to them and they talk to me.

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  18. JAMAL – it sounds like you truly are in touch with trees. I find a serenity about trees that I rarely find anywhere else. And don’t worry – you have expressed you love for them. Quite beautifully too. Thanks for visiting!

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