The Worship of Trees.

Watercolour by Rachel Toll.
‘Starlings’  by Rachel Toll.

My favourite tree is finally dropping its leaves. A Hazel. My Hazel. This wouldn’t feel so significant if I hadn’t spent so much time out of this world beneath these particular branches. It’s companionship has spanned a strange and cathartic year, and much of it I have veiwed between its leafy fingers, looking up, waiting for something to change along with all the circling colours: lilac and frosty with early stars; lapis lazuli’d and hard as enamel; grey and woolly as a wet jumper.

January. The first tree awake...
January. The first tree awake…

And why should a grown woman spend so much time looking up, waste so many precious hours beneath the same tree? Because, despite the slightly scary circumstances, I got lucky – I was forced into a place where time stopped, a place where I had lost my tether to the everyday. As W.B Yeats put it: “I went out to the Hazel wood, because a fire was in my head…” and there was a fire, just not the fire of bardic inspiration but the more mundane, if agonising, nerve flashes of Trigeminal Neuralgia.

July. Post-op. Looking up from my bed in the garden.
July. Post-op. Looking up from my bed in the garden.

I’ve written about this condition in earlier posts, so I won’t go over what’s been said before, but I will add that a certain inspiration did come with the waves of pain and the suffocating blanket of meds, and it came beneath this tree.

November. And the last to sleep...
November. And the last to sleep…

So yes, I was lucky; how else would I have managed to stay so still yet see so much, roam so far and open doors that had been firmly closed during my formative years, without the presence of that fire and the chance to lie, sit, dream, suffer, shiver, recover, recuperate and become myself again under wide, fluttering branches of the Hazel tree.



Telling The Bees can be found here.




2 thoughts on “The Worship of Trees.

    1. Thank you! My hazel is still looking magnificent; it might be stripped of leaves but the masses of catkins more than make up for the lack.


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