Category: POEMS

original official Standing As Earth Banner

STANDING AS EARTH : January 13th – February 12th 2021 #standingasearth

A creative attempt to summarize/record my, month-long, participation in this remarkable project.
My original, published, ‘cool’ captions and inspiring ‘Earth quotes’ became lost to the ether when I chose to delete my Facebook account…..which is just as well….as with hindsight it seems I was not really listening…..some of my posts where only text and gone forever now ….but this is all the visual work I shared with the group….cobbled together, chronologically, and with new meaning.

It all began with Nuts.
Tree Seeds.
Those prefectly designed, well travelled, nuggets of both nutrition and potential.
(Reminded now, also. in hindsight, of an Egyptian Nut.
Daughter of vital breath and heat, a star-covered naked woman, bowed over the Earth,
With her head in the West and her feet in the East. A bridge between the Earth and the Sky.)

I wondered how this ‘tree’ would grow from there…..

kat robertson artist

The endangered red squirrel became my constant companion on this journey.
And, as always here, the Wind.

Winter Hawthorn showed me her sharp, protective, thorns…..

kat robertson artist

The Beech hedge whispered ‘Sssssh…..ssssh’……

kat robertson artist

Mole spoke to me of staying buzy, but remaining underground, unseen…..

kat robertson artist

Mosses demonstrated how to cling on and thrive, on only cold, ungiving, stone……

kat robertson artist

But I was not really listening …….
And worms writhed in the compost heap of my mind, giving birth to strange new, artifical, creatures….

kat robertson artist

I have a well-weathered head.
Colonized now by Nature.
Worn away by Time.

Still able, though, to see those ‘Spots of Light’ and bask in their Radiance.

kat robertson artist

Celebrate their Beauty.

kat robertson artist

That is, until I see when I venture out, again and again, our trashing of everything Sacred …
And I am returned to Grieving.

Yet, I was reminded, in that Darkness, there is always Light.
You only have to find new ways of Seeing.

kat robertson artist

It is Imbolc.
A time of Rebirth. Of Future. A Time of New Beginnings and Returning Light.
Humble Snowdrops blaze a fanfare.
Hope Incarnate.
Spring is on its way.

The soil gives way to green, urgent, spears of New Life, pushing up toward the Sun.

kat robertson artist

Even, inside our winter home, the houseplants put on a show of wondrous, exotic, blooms.

kat robertson artist

Out walking I was shown something weird, almost alien, something that I had never encountered before.
Sea squirts!
Earth spoke to me again of all the unseen wonders that she holds.
That Living can only ever be learning.

I cracked open my first rotten egg in a long, long time.
The smell was of Sulphur.
I learned that Humans create more Sulphur now than is released by all the Earth’s volcanos put together.
So Humans smell, to the Earth, of Sulphur too.
A smell associated with Decay.
And the breaking open of her Crust.

kat robertson artist

Then we were invited to dig deep and find our authentic Howl.
Always a tough one.

kat robertson artist

It turned out my Howl is, and has always been, my felt Impotence in affecting any real Change
Through what I am able to do, through my own unique gifts.
Earth told me it was OK to share, again, some work I have already done.
For it is Work that has not lost Value through Age.
Just as I have not lost Value.

kat robertson artist

Work created when I first began to Give the Earth a Voice online.
(Though, at that time, I thought I was Alone in doing so.)

kat robertson artist

Sharing this Work, reminded me that I have been Standing here a long, long Time already.
And brought home how committed I am to doing it still.

kat robertson artist

Still.
Rarely witnessed and, in the main, uncelebrated.

kat robertson artist

As undeserving of applause as a weed in a lawn.
A rock, the moss or a twisted tree.
A sea squirt.
Or a hooded crow.
This is not a show.

kat robertson artist

A creature of magik and alchemy.
Who no longer needs to shout out “I am here!”
Because, in the course of this experiment, the only One who really matters told me that:

She Loves me,
that She is Sorry,
that She Forgives me
and is Grateful for all that I do.

And when I heard that back….

I just Let Go.

I AM HOME

and that is where you’ll always find me.

Still Standing.

Kat Robertson. Standing As Earth. Imbolc 2021



I am staring at this screen.
How to condense the Experience?
It’s impossible!
The above barely scratches the surface.
Now only recorded in pages and pages and pages and pages and pages
of messy, scrawled notes, avid, crazed, chanelled, journalling …processing …..too much to edit.

And this trail of shared artworks.

I have deleted my Facebook account.
Deleted all social media accounts.
I am too much to edit.
It was Earth that called me to withdraw from all that fight to be seen.
The fight to feel heard.
While I celebrate all who are able to continue this work of being visible online.
Who have those skills.
I have become exhausted from trying to find new ways to say such a simple thing.
There simply are no words left in my limited vocabulary.

I can tell you how I felt when I first saw the online invitation.
YES! YES! What a brilliantly simple idea!
Let’s ALL Stand AS Earth.

————————————————————————————————————————————————


Earth, my true Nature, guides me now to simply write of the WEATHER during this month long experiment #standingasearth on Facebook.

The Weather of Standing As Earth

It began with a, freezing, Siberian Wind that howled from the East.
Screaming over vast, populated, landmasses,
Carrying all that stale air,
To meet the ocean
Here.
All the way from China, it came hurtling through, at tree-breaking ,wave-hurling, speed,
Onward over the Atlantic, toward the East Coast of the Americas.
It was hard, sometimes, to Breathe.
The Land became hard too, as iron.
It’s Life Blood frozen.
Impermanent diamonds grew in the Mud.
And the Trees grew hair of Ice.
Until the very Dryness turned it all to Dust.
Dust that came Alive, like dervishes, like dancers,
Rising, with the gusting wind, up from the Ground.
Gritty in my eyes.
Making me Cry.

And then it Snowed.
And all became Still and Silent.
And all became Clear and Sharply defined.
Blueish and Breathtaking.
The Light alone, a sensory orgasm.

And then, it all, inevitably,
Thawed.

The winds have never stopped blowing.

They are blowing still.
They have just swung around a bit and radically changed direction.

I found I had been blown off course.

I found myself, full circle, called back into the Mystery.

I found I was, already, HOME.


Kat Robertson. Standing As Earth. Imbolc 2021

“Ssssssh…..Sssssh….” EARTH

My last post on Facebook, after realising I felt I had shared way too much, and deleting my account, was this.
It hangs on the wall of my ‘artden’.
And, while not my own words, says all I really have left to say of any worth.
My continued prayer is only that more of us will find this Truth and try their very best to LIVE BY IT.
And each find their own ,unique, Balance.

(N.B. I have only just realised that when a person deletes their Facebook account, they disappear, also, from all groups. As if they had never been there at all. I experience a deep sadness about that, as I fell in Love, with new brothers and sisters, and Earth, over and over again, during this month of participation …….. despite not joining in on Zoom! Now guided just to rest in the Knowing that we are, all connected, through the Forest floor. )

Frozen Mud

All is frozen hard.
Stunning patterns in the mud.
Water moves the Land.


Kat Robertson January 2021

kat robertson artist
kat robertson artist
Original photograph used to create mandala

Sunflower teachings.

Most know that I prefer natives,
but what child can resist giant sunflowers.
Gifted some seed, up they shot.
Charging for the sun.
One was the tallest I have ever grown.
But this pride came before a fall.
As late summer gales began to blow.
I watched, through the window, as it swung wildly.
So I staked it.
I thought I was helping.
But the gusts beheaded it.
Snapped.
Right at the tie.
If I had left it alone, given it the freedom to move with the wind,
I think it would have survived.
So often this is the case.
We think we are helping, but all we are really doing is curbing her responsive wildness,
Weeding out her repairs, re-routing her rivers, deciding what we think is best for her.
When will we ever learn?
I put the tight, architectural, bud in a vase.
Blow me! It still fought to flower, to thrive.
I cheered it on.
Turning the bloom to face the sun when it came out.
But to no avail.
Eventually it gave up.
And drew back in.
Disconnected from the Mother, it shrivelled and died.
No future. No seed. Without soil.

Meanwhile, out in the garden, the others survived more storms.
With no support from me.
Such autumnal JOY!

Most interesting to note was how the same seed, the same pot grown seedlings, when planted else where, grew in proportion to the pot/conditions available.
Would that we would learn to do the same!

Daydreaming of Giant country folk and Lillipution city dwellers.
Remembering those wee, hardy, land carved, Picts with the, famously, tiny doors…..

Our western children, statisically, are all growing bigger and taller.
More of them too.
Growing like those other plants, artifically reared, under perfect lights with perfect food.
At what cost??

Cannot help but see the whole of humanity in this tall sunflower’s teaching.

Disconnected from Mother we will not thrive indefinitely.

Artficially nourished, all growing too big for the space we are afforded, taking from elsewhere, we grow out of balance with all that sustains us.

When will we ever learn?

The Starling Tree.

The Starling Tree

What is this noisy kind of alchemy?
Turned my head to see
A tree.
Against the sky.
Watching as bird became tree.
As tree became bird.
Becoming One, all held by the Light.

Kat Robertson September 2020

UPDATE 29th October: Spent many days ‘mandalizing’ recently and made this mandala of the starling tree. It belongs here!

kat robertson artist

Loosening it

(An alternative version of my experience, of the Gaia Hut’s first outing.)

Loosening it

‘Sycamore’, ‘knapweed’, ‘meadow sweet’, ‘larch’,
‘ash’…
Noticing so many affected. Ash die-back. The Tree of Life. Dying back…..
‘hazel’, ‘common reed’, ‘rowan’, ’hello Heron!’
I recited their names, on my daily commute, bowing in apology for my polluting motion, as I passed.
‘alder’, ‘birch’, ‘hawthorn’,
‘hello Crows!’,
(‘what is that purple one shining so now?’)
‘beech’, ‘elder’, ‘horse chestnut’,
‘Himalayan balsam….hmmm’,
‘hawkbit’, ‘ragwort’ and so on,
I’d nod to them as I drove past, stopping, sometimes,
to breathe, to pick glorious seed heads for my little venue’s vase.
A single, gale-surviving, garden, sunflower nodded back at me when I entered the village, and was always turned to face me when I left.
I loved its sunny welcome and farewell.
(I’d lost my tallest sunflower in the wild winds of the week.
I’d tried to help it by tying it to a stake.
It’s head had snapped at that tie. When will I ever learn?
A lesson in there somewhere.)

More alders. Seeing alders everywhere here.
A local wise-woman taught me that Ardfern, translated, is Aird Fheàrna in Gaelic, land of the alder trees.
I thought of how they ‘bleed’ when I harvest the bark for my pigment.
And laughed at myself when I thought of my, grown-from-seed, seedlings at home, when they were everywhere here, to transplant, so close to our hill.
Whoo Hoo! Whoo Hoo!
The wood pigeons were always calling as I arrived to open up.
‘Whoo-Hoo!’ I felt inside, as I sipped my fresh, meadowsweet, tea.
We do not have many of those on the hill. Wood pigeons.
The neighbours, clean-lined, zen-garden, trickled water all day.
I did not always use the toilet in the house, twice I squatted behind the trailer, in a weedy corner, among the docks and red campion.
Unseen, under the ash trees.
Marking my spot, for the village dogs and cats.
My host, and dear freind’s, old setter was fading.
He lost the use of his back legs during our exhibition.
My freind coped amazingly.
I knew he was near the end, but could not share it,
with the family keeping such Hope alive.
So moving to spend Time with him
and bear witness to the family’s Love for their dear companion.
I caught myself dancing when the wind whirled.
The weather made me ‘dance’ around the Hut often.
Fixing shelter. Taking it down. Opening up and Closing up. Lighting the fire and letting it go out.
The gravel felt hard underfoot, but I’d think of the reflexology I was getting and smile.
I was often fascinated by a tree, I called the ‘starling tree’, against the sky and how, silhouetted, the birds became leaves, until they flew away.
Noisy leaves. So full of chatter.
We don’t see starlings on our hill either.
There was a stone.
My guardian stone.
In the edge of the flower border, who kept me company during this event.
It had two faces. One that smiled when the sun came out, another that looked grumpy in the rain.
It spoke to me of the tragedy and comedy of it all.
Of the hypocrisy.
I painted its two faces, as a hanging slate, slate with a hole in it, I had found in their garden, as gift for the family.
The children were delighted to meet him.
And to know that he lived in their garden.

Such beauty in this garden. Such Love.
Huge sunflowers, a stunning, single, artichoke, dahlias, Californian poppies, geraniums, buddleia, brassica flowers, sweet peas, tomatoes, leeks, wild greens, kale and more.
All thriving in this small, sheltered patch.
Chickens clucked under the Lime.
Cabbage white butterflies danced in the air, when the sun came out.
I really noticed though, the lack of other butterflies this year. At home and here too. More on the brassicas than the verbena or buddleia.
More gifts for their garden arrived during our event, transplanted ferns and more trees.
Huge paper birch, red cherry and mountain ash.
An over-buy from a neighbour of hers.
They did not want them to die when they went away again for a while.
They had no Time to plant them.
Such Abundance.
I collected some flowers from the bountiful garden, always asking permission, for my flower press.
Something to remember this Time by, this colour, when I use them, later, in winter, to make something new.
I joked that I was their garden gnome for the duration.
A friend joined me, barefoot, for a while.
I taught her how to twist the rushes, she showed me new ‘hearts’ in the gravel.
They reminded us both of a mutual, dear friend, who had passed.
She told us tales of Africa and gifted me a twisted, willow, heart, now part of the Gaia Hut.
I popped in to visit another friend, while I was in the village, and came home with laden with bags of ‘surplus’ collected seaweed, that I laid out in the rain, to wash the salt off, touching ocean, before laying it on my autumn-prepared patch to rot down over winter and feed the soil. The best kind of gift!
On the last day I was given a potted rose by one friend and a bottle of Cava by another.
I felt like a queen, or a graduate, as I bore these home.
Overwhelmed with Gratitude.

The purple one was ‘loosestrife’.
Amazing how in looking all these years I had never met this one before!
Always so much to learn.

No, it told me, you are not losing it.
You are loosening it.

Kat Robertson. August 2020.

Reflecting on the experience.

The Old Eucalyptus

in Memoriam of the mature Eucalyptus that leaned out over the road from the gardens of Craigdhu farmhouse
planted? – 2020
succumbed to the sudden south-westerly gales during May’s lockdown of 2020

To the tree,
The tree that marked the exciting promise of youthful shenanigans.
The tree that called me back to a place,
That then welcomed me with open arms
Each time I turned off  the main trunk road along this smaller branching way.
The tree that leaned ever further over all who entered here
As if trying to vet them as they passed.
The tree whose ancestors came from the other side of the world.
Whose presence reminded some, who have settled here, of Home.
The tree that succumbed, eventually, to Wind and Time,
The tree that will forever be growing still, alive and well,
In so many of our memories.

Kat Robertson June 2020

Sadly, these are the best of the photographs I can find of this local tree legend, when it was alive and towering over village B-road.
It was such an iconic landmark for all who lived here.
It felt like a physical blow to see it lying here.

I stopped the car and spent some Time with it.
I ‘asked’ for some bark and a piece of wood that I thought I might try and make a didgeridoo with it….but having researched how to do it I am not sure my skills are up to that! No termites here to have naturally hollowed it out!

The bark looks a bit like a tribal warrior, to me, walking along, when vertical, and reminisent of a local landscape, when horizontal….

Then there came another local, art initiative.
A Craignish ‘lockdown’ postcard art exhibition!
Postcard sized creations on the theme of ‘Craignish Lockdown’.
Blank postcards to be collected from the village shop and returned to the special postbox on the counter, or the co-ordinator…
To be exhibited in the village hall and, hopefully seen, as restrictions to movement and social distancing roles ‘loosen’.
Another wonderful idea!

This is my submission.
In honor of this old freind we have lost during this Time.

I painted the tree, using just the local mud, then hid that behind an aboriginal style, dot-work, design, as a nod to it’s ancestors.

The central ‘dots’ were punched out the bark of the tree itself and stuck on.

I wrote the poem above on the back.

Looking forward to seeing everyone’s ‘lockdown art’ all together… soon’ish’!?

No Mow May

It’s ‘No Mow May’.

The mowing machines are parked.

Silent.


Dockans grow between their wheels.

Daises and eyebright twinkle in the sun.

Ox-eye, clover, plantain and stitchwort.

Orchids, buttercups, cuckoo flowers and ragwort.

Nod in the breeze.

So lively with the sound of humming bees.

Bugle flowers are blowing, glowing.

The dandelions roar.

The swallows dart low over this living sea.

And every grass seed and waving dock seems adorned with  shiny beetles, damson fly and spiders.

So much more than just ‘hay’.

Granted, not so inviting for a cartwheel or a rug.

I find I walk more carefully, barefoot, through it.

Experience a slight fear.

Of lurking thistle prick and nettle sting.

Of crushing something precious.

Of being bitten.

Fallow is not shallow.

It is, at least, knee high.

I stand in this new habitat and appear to grow from it.


I had no idea that all this was here.

Waiting for this opportunity.

So conditioned I had become to cut, make it all tidy.

My need for ease and pleasure prioritised over the flowers right to be.

Now standing here, no longer a Conqueror.

Almost a Saviour.

In the ‘not doing’ I have given birth to

so

much

Life.


What brilliant flowers might grow in our collective minds I wonder.

Now that societies noisy machine has ground to a halt.

What wild dreaming is, at last, allowed to grow through those silent wheels?

That is one ‘job’ less.

No longer necessary to push those blades, to keep up, fit in.

No longer necessary to keep ’emptying the bag’, in order to stop the mental mower choking with overload.

To make our thoughts all neat and ordered.

Write lists and fill our diaries with ‘things to do’.

To pull out all the ‘weeds’.

What colours, what ideas would self-seed there?

What life would colonize?

Somethings that bite may move in. Some darker prickles.

That we must learn to walk around, accommodate.

But I feel sure there would soon bloom

So many flowers, bursting through,

at last allowed,

To reveal themselves.


Kat Robertson May 2020

And here is the follow-up piece….shared to Facebook 9th of June.

“I caved under pressure.

No Mow May is now officially over.
Where have all the flowers gone? 

The problem seems to be that HE has a MACHINE to do this.
That the machine cannot cope if it gets TOO thick.
That ‘What is the point of having this machine if it is not used?’
The once broken,discarded, ride-on, he rescued and repaired last year.
He wants to ‘give it another trim’ too.
I begged him not to.
I suggested a scythe, glancing at his growing girth.
I could have scythed it in Autumn….

But then again…..the docks were starting to seed, rushes, thistles and brambles finding feet, hiding in the grasses….
I spent years digging out the docks, a battle only mowing wins.
We live in a wild place. So full of Life.
There is some comfort in ‘carving a patch’, away from ticks and midges, thorns and stinging nettles.

(It was also one of the ‘worthy’ PAID jobs for teenage boys.
No Mow meant less MONEY for them.)

Just the other day I was ‘wondering’ and found two orchids growing in HIS yard.
(the bigger kind, the rarer kind, not yet in flower)
I made a mental note to let him know where they were.
I heard the strimmer too late.
Such cruel timing, I had not even seen him to say!!

I wept and fell to my knees, talking to the Earth, asking forgivness, and searching for where they once were, to dig them out and replant them somewhere safe.
But could find nothing, just a few speckled leaves thrown out among the grass cuttings.
As I felt around in this ‘war zone’, something moved, where the orchid used to be.
A tiny, tiny lizard.
I cupped it in my hands and showed it to him, my face wet with tears.
‘How amazing that this little thing survived!! Imagine how it experienced your strimmer. Absolute apocalypse!’
He seemed unmoved, defensive.
‘I cannot see these things when I am strimming!’ he said, as if by explanation.
‘Do you even know they are there!? Do you see anything?!!’ I retorted, a tad unreasonably.

I took the lizard to a safer place, where I see other lizards often.

At least he has agreed to leave some wilder bits…..it has taken me years to convince him of this.

I am waiting for a new rake to come through the post.
(Raking is also a paid job for boys.)

We will spread out the ‘hay’ and it will feed the ‘lawn’, any extra will be mulch for my garden.

The scythe will not come out of the shed this year, except perhaps for some bracken here and there.

The bees all seem to be buzzing in the flowerless hawthorn hedge, alarmed.

It is ME that cuts the hedge.
I am the reason it remains a, flowerless, fruitless, hawthorn.

Having researched this I had already determined to leave it alone this year, for flowers and berries next year, now that it is old enough.

Then I read, today, that a good idea is to cut alternate sides each year…..

I DID notice he had mowed AROUND the 3 tiny orchids in the lawn……. 

Though ‘No Mow May’ now means I only hear screams, feel Death, when I hear those motors whining…..

All in the balance……

Kat Robertson June 2020

Lizard, I bow.



Lizard,

I bow.

In watching,

I remember, now,

how

to slow my, dis-eased,

artificially-quickened, blood.

Learning how to be STILL,

Yet ever alert.

Blinking and tasting danger in the Air.

Presenting pre-historic, spirit/body, to the Sun,

Soaking up the gift of Light and warmth.

Also stored in Rock below me.

Informing my flesh of the true order of Life.

Taking the opportunity.

To power up my inner core.

With gratitude.

While toughening my outer armour.

For future fights, as yet, unseen

That advance across invisible horizons,

That threaten all ideas of freedom.

Awareness of predators.

Awareness, also,

of those that

pose no

threat.

As long

as I

remain

still.

And

observe

keenly.

Proud

of my

long

tail.

And

keen

to

hang

onto

it.

Kat Robertson May 2020

Common Lizard in cold frame, sunbathing.

All in Good Time.

All in time

All in time.

All in good time.

Beyond Rhythm and Rhyme.

All in good time.

Time to be good.

Good time.

Positive steps.

A good time.

All in good time.

(Berlin 1994)

I feel that I am spiraling around again, almost full circle.

The words Weaving and Spiraling are loud to me in these Times.
Re-evaluating.
A good Time to choose.
‘All Change, Change Tracks’ or ‘Keep Going’.

I wrote ‘All in Time’, in Berlin, in 1994.
It popped into my mind this morning.
I went to find it.
It describes how I feel today.
A sense of holding back.
Patient Procrastination.
While simultaneously, fearfully, putting out tendrils that may set other, bigger, wheels in motion.

An IN BREATH.

The turn of the wave.

Trusting to be shown Right Timing.

The poem in the link below still speaks for me now.
The poem that gave birth to this blog.
Written February 2016.

Like An Awakening.

So began this Rolling OM blog experiment.

Now I find it un-stoppable.

Typically addicted.

I love curating this online, creative, journal of sorts.

The curious way it connects.

This broken record it keeps.

It’s stoic, spontaneous, paradox.


I see it is a bit of a rare thing.

A ‘moss-gathering, rolling, stone’.

(that….curiously…….as I type….rolls UP!)

And I ‘let this stone go’ a long time ago now!

Now I just have to keep running with it…..on its journey into the unknown.

Each day a new page.

kat robertson artist
lichenmoss mandala March 2020
original photo of mosses on old stone wall

Guardian Trees.

She said
“Close your eyes, breath deep and remember. Bring to mind a tree, any tree. A tree that you have felt a special connection with sometime in your life. Listen carefully, you will know when it comes….”

And there it was.

The huge Scot’s Pine, of my childhood, the one on the drive.

Pinus Slyvestris.

It’s Latin name always used to make me giggle.
These trees have always sounded ‘male’ to me.

Other beloved, more exotic , exciting, tree-candidates danced just out of reach….trees that were more beautiful, more extraordinary….but this tree literally fought to be seen.

Why so?

I realised that I did not remember it too well.
I remember always noticing it on the way to and from school.
I was generally unhappy, both ways, back then.
And so alone.
I’d lose all grievous thinking, momentarily,
when I looked UP, my eyes catching its russet glow
and the twisting drama of it high branches
in the light.
I retain remembered feelings of encouragement.
As if, in those moments, this seed-grown giant,
had given me some strength to go on.
To keep on fighting through all circumstance,
To be strong and resilient,
And not ‘bend to the weather’.

I decided to make the journey.
A kind of pilgrimage.
To thank it for that.
Feeling slightly guilty at the number of times I had simply driven past on our family visits and not thought to ‘check in’.
I wondered if this tree had a message for me.
And I worried for it, after all these years of gales.

What would I find?

Stepping out of the car, I gasped.

So often childhood memories seem smaller when revisited.
Not this tree.
It simply towered over me.

Perhaps it was not only that it had grown?
Perhaps I have become, somehow, smaller?
Was it just that my tree-love is greater
and my bow deeper with age?

I approached it reverently and laid my forehead on its scaly bark.
Listening for the sap rising.
It felt so still.
And smelt of fresh water.
The small stream gurgling at its feet.

I became aware that I could be seen from my father’s house.
And then, ridiculously, self conscious.
In my red raincoat.
I felt exposed.
I slid around the trunk, behind,
Hiding away from the uncomfortable, critical, glare
of those farmhouse windows.

What message could that sky soaring, majesty have for me?
So straight and strong.
Unscalable scales.
It’s graceful, twisting heights, too high for all but birds.
Out of reach.

I remembered how I had always taken it for granted.
How it had always simply been ‘that tree’.
One tree among many others.
All so reliably always there for me.

Still growing there, under my father’s gaze,
But there so long before he ever was.

An ancient, native, indigenous, giant.
The backdrop for this, more recent, more exotic, garden.

So big, so reliably there, it was weirdly easy not to notice it, in passing,
Eyes tuned ahead and sometimes around,
Natural to just look past its scaly, trunk, towards all the flowers,

That is unless you stopped, stood back and craned your neck to see….

(Click on first image to view as gallery)

Standing there, another old guardian tree called to me.
I heard her shout!
From high up on the hill, behind the farmhouse.
As if one told me of the other.
I had completely forgotten her!

I had the time and needed a walk.

A hill oak tree. Sessile Oak (Quercus patraea).
Carved by the elements and wild exposure.
My old wishing tree.
A place I had often sought for comfort and to cry.
She had always had Time to listen to me.

There she was. Still hanging on.

Familiar mossy roots and rocks hugged my body as I sat down
On the livestock-worn earth between her toes.
And I sighed and leaned back into her memory.
Protected from the cold wind by this embrace.

I rested there a while.

Where rot had set in, in her ‘less alive’, branches,
Her own wood-body was now composting, in hollows, and giving birth to new life.

Tree ferns, lichens, mosses, (one tiny pine!), grow now, in these nurturing crevices.

This tree’s strength lies in growing so slow and craggy,
Keeping low and in the lee.
Branches twisting, as if around unseen obstacles in the wind.

Another native.

Who had divinely taken root, and had survived,
with few other companions,
on this rocky outpost.

I wondered if, in her rings, she carried resonance of greater, ancient, forests, been once a part of something bigger, that had, long since, been eroded.
Grazing sheep and wild deer now keep all the area, around this exposed outcrop, a rough pasture of rushes, long grasses, cotton flowers, bracken, spagnum and deep, black, bog.
Perhaps that ancient forest still lies all around, preserved in the peat,
and she sings to them, her sad song,
as the wind rattles her branches.

A lonely survivor.

She just belongs to this place.

And I, like the sheep, was able to rest, once again,

in her shelter, and winter, melancholic, presence, still.

In this wild place, so far away from the garden.

Far away from any windows.

I felt welcomed and that she remembered me.

I spoke my soul, sang her a song,

and made a wish,

promising to return again before too long.

(Click on first image to view as gallery)

I painted a portrait of this tree when I first returned home, to Argyll, with the intention of settling here.
Titled ‘The Wishing Tree’, the painting was bought by my step mother, and still hangs in their home.

A home that lies, tiny, in the landscape far below, where this tree still grows.

A childhood home to which I no longer belong.

In a place where it is the land, and the weather, that owns us all.