When Sarah posted on the Down to Earth forum asking if anyone wanted to write an article about trees as part of the February UK Herbarium blog party I felt immediately compelled to answer. You see, I love my trees, and this seemed to present an opportunity to say thank you to them in some way.
I am blessed to live in the Perth Hills in Western Australia. Our little wooden pole home sits within a 1 acre bush block that is heavily treed with Australian Eucalypts consisting of mainly; Jarrah, Marri and Wandoo. I can see the trees from every space in the house (even in the bath!) and is one reason we chose to buy the property 6 years ago. The whole ambiance of the place feels very peaceful and I think of it as a sanctuary that I can return home to after a hectic day at work, helping me to remain sane in an insane world.
The trees help me to recharge my batteries and I think of them like a bridge to tap into an infinite source of energy. When I am stressed or anxious I only have to look at the trees to instantly feel calm and grounded. If I am feeling very depleted energetically I go outside and walk amongst them, listening to the rustle of their leaves in the wind and feeling their bark. The trees always feel strong and ‘real’, something tangible that I can see and touch, growing tall and straight and lush.
I have discovered that if I spend lots of time with the trees, walking, sitting looking at them, talking to them and touching them, my creativity is triggered I just have to go and write or paint or create something. For example my trees helped me to write and illustrate a fairy tale to welcome my grandchild into the world. I was inspired by the trees to paint them into the story with faces amongst their bark, revealing the spirits that I can sense reside within them.
I sometimes write poems and little stories about my trees. This is what I wrote about Angor, a large Marri that grows outside our second bedroom where I used to do my yoga every morning (before the new Grandchild took over the room : )):
‘I see him every morning,
I dip up and down in my salute to the sun
I see him each and every time
On the up
And then on the down.
That almost in the corner of my eye seeing,
he stands there solemnly
And I am instilled with confidence-
in time and place.
Sometimes I am sad.
I look at Angor and I giggle.
He looks very serious and wise
The delight of him flows through my body lifting my spirit
Chasing the sadness away…………….
I sense his rootedness
I too feel my roots
I become aware of the earth beneath my feet and the timeless beautiful nature of it all’.
I haven’t overtly used trees in my work with people. However I have had clients introduce trees into counselling sessions and I have supported and assisted them to develop the theme. The clients that I am thinking of clearly found their connection with trees healing and comforting.
The trees not only sustain my mind and spirit but they also keep my home warm in winter; their fallen braches and twigs providing logs and kindling. Their leaves too are an important element in our little circle of self-sufficiency. We use them to mulch the garden beds and to add to the compost bin.
If I am feeling frivolous I will get some fresh gum leaves put them in a glass bowl and sprinkle them with water. Their scent infuses the whole house with the aroma of fresh eucalyptus.