My Swedish family holiday has come to an end, with everyone alive and well. As a reward to myself, therefore, I’m spending a few days alone at a small country hotel in Wiltshire.
I’ve come here to read, write, walk in nature and recharge my batteries for the autumn. I’ve been here several times before so I’m very familiar with the hotel, its staff and its surroundings.
The rain poured down as I arrived yesterday afternoon, but by the morning the sun had managed to break through the clouds. As soon as I’d finished breakfast, therefore, I went for a stroll in the tree-rich grounds of the hotel.
The grass was still very wet so my canvas trainers soon got soaked. But I kept walking.
For I’d come to greet a very special tree – special to me that is. It’s by no means the grandest tree here but it’s the one I know best.
Because over the years I’ve come to appreciate that trees have a tremendous ability to get me out of my head and into my heart.
Mindfully breathing in the fresh oxygen produced by trees is in itself healing and restorative.
The different shades of green foliage have a gentle, soothing effect and the trunk of the tree, which connects the leafy crown with its roots, reminds me to stay grounded.
If it weren’t for a wise and fabulously intuitive lady called Alice, I may not have discovered the healing nature of trees.
The first time we met she gazed at me for a while in silence and then said,
‘There’s something about you and trees. Go out and be with trees.’
By spending time in nature and especially being close to trees, I began to experience wholeness for the first time in my life.
Trees, I feel, epitomise the very essence of beingness and wholeness. They are who they are. And they make no apologies for it.
When I Am Among the Trees, by Mary Oliver
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
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