Sunday, May 27, 2007

Savernake Forest

Wednesday May 23, 2007Holly and Hawthorn lined the track. Sun splashed brilliantly in runt of us. Birds high in the forest’s canopy belted out their joyful songs.

Great skirted beeches green or copper watched us as we walked. Here and there, the path entered a wide sunny clearing. Twice, the charcoal burner’s paths crossed ours. A squirrel darted up a nearby oak tree, another lunged deep into the nettles fringing the wood.

We were searching for the King and queen Oaks. The map said that we’d find them on this path, about half a mile in. We’d been walking now for nearly an hour. Oaks there were, but not those ones, and not at the apex of six small paths that met deep in the forest. Tired, we turned back.

The Turkey Oak had its own sign. It was a magnificent tree, folded and gnarled but wide and solid too. Climbing over a large fallen branch, we settled down at its base, facing towards the west.

Birds called to each other across the tree tops. Small creatures scurried through the undergrowth. Bees hummed and circled. In the distance, a cuckoo called, gently, experimentally and then more strongly.
I breathed in the damp woody smell and caught the sweet aroma of the lavender incense. Was that wood smoke I could also smell? My eyelids felt heavy and I leaned back against the strong trunk.

In a shaft of noonday sunlight, a small figure stopped to watch. Indistinct in the shadows, it soon darted off. Swinging leaves moved and a face appeared, nodded and was gone.

Birds stopped singing and the wood fell silent. The strong trunk of a nearby tree merged into the body of a tall man, the branches his antlers, the roots, his hooves. The light shifted and he was gone. A cuckoo called across the tree tops.

There in front of me was a huge brown skirted green haired figure. As tall as a tree, she surveyed the forest calmly and majestically. In her hair, a small brown birds sang a piercingly loud song. And then she was gone and I was staring at a great beech tree swaying gently in the breeze.

The forest sounds all around me spiralled and merged into a tapestry of song, rustlings, creaking and the silence of the standing and watching trees. And in the peace that fell upon me as I listened, I remembered my chosen sister Tina whose death brought me to the goddess. She had loved trees and I had found comfort in their company after her death.

We walked back through the singing wood. I was full of gratitude for my dead chosen sister. I wanted to sing out loud, because she too loved singing and had a pure light voice. Her favourite tree in London had been a tall skirted beech in Highgate Woods. Here was abundance of magnificent beeches. I would find a tree to sing to.

Beside the wider path leading back to the road, a large green beech tree called to me. I circled it and lent against it. Remembering how she would always take my hands and place them on the trunks of trees, I stroked this full skirted, round columned beauty as I sang the song I wrote for Tina after her death.

“Sunshine shimmers through the leaves; the air is warm and soft.
A gentle breeze is dancing through the meadow’s grassy tufts
High above a blackbird flutes, around me hum the bees.
In my heart I hear you Tina singing with the trees.

Rain upon the gritty pavement, dampness on my face.
I push my way through dripping tangled urban leafy embrace.
A gust of wind, a crackling back, dances round my knees.
In the gale I hear you Tina singing with the trees.

Earth is for the physical, your body soft and round.
Water the emotions and the love that still surrounds you.
Air is for your intellect, so powerful and strong.
Fire for your spirit dancing joyfully in song.

And I hear Tina singing with the trees

A thousand years this olive tree has stood her sturdy ground.
Ten million years the wind and rain has weathered her surrounds.
A hundred years from now it doesn’t matter where I’ll be.
In my dreams I’ll hear you Tina singing with the trees.

We gave you all the love we could, but it was not enough.
In the end, you felt alone, your road was just too rough.
By yourself, you made your choice; you found your calm release.
In my blood I’ll hear you Tina singing with the trees.

Earth is for the physical, your body soft and round.
Water the emotions and the love that still surrounds you.
Air is for your intellect, so powerful and strong.
Fire for your spirit dancing joyfully in song.

And I hear Tina singing with the trees
And I hear Tina singing with the trees

I held the tree in a grateful embrace, giving thanks to the goddess for Tina’s life and the path I had taken because of her. Wiping away my tears, I turned to walk back down the road, the sun warm on my back.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home