Tuesday, December 19, 2006

For the Ashes

"Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other."
Rainer Maria Rilke

This morning I am in mourning, but at the same time I am also cultivating a green and enduring hope. This post is a brief and very loving paean (or song of thanksgiving) for two of my favorite trees in the garden. It is also an invocation to the Old Wild Mother and a heartfelt prayer for their survival.

When we purchased the little blue house in the village years ago, we liked the house and thought it would be a good home for us. At the time, it didn't have as many bookshelves as we would have liked or the space for a separate studio and sewing room, but oh the trees. . . . We were besotted and entranced by the trees in the garden, and we purchased the house, really just for the trees.

There was one old ash tree in the garden (or rather a pair of old ash trees) with whom I fell in love on the spot. The two trees wrap around each other in a long slow spiral, enfolding each other and growing in a deep embrace. They lean into each other like companionable twins, long time lovers or old friends who have been together for centuries, and their pleasure in being rooted together in the same place is obvious.

For years, those two ash trees have been my companions, and greeting them is always my first act of the day. In the morning I have coffee with them — over the years I have watched multitudes of birds singing, dancing and nesting among their perfectly arching branches — I have seen innumerable summer suns tracking across the sky behind them — I have photographed countless moons rising over them — there has never been a day when I didn’t touch and greet the ash trees and bless them for gracing me with their benign and loving presence.

The ashes have appeared here many times during the last year or two, but (alas) their time in the garden may be coming to a close. During a storm a few days ago, a high wind brought a huge branch from one tree crashing down into the garden, and while the local arborist is doing his best to save both ashes, things here are a tad "iffy" at the moment, and it is likely that they will both have to be removed. They have been growing together for so long that they cannot be separated (rather like Himself and me, I suppose).

I am distraught. Of course, I took photographs of the ash's recent tumble, but looking at those images makes me feel a little sick, and I just can't bring myself to post one of them here this morning.

This is for the ashes.


Anonymous said...

I hope the arborist will be able to save your ash trees. I sometimes think that ash is one of those overlooked and under-appreciated species, so it was nice to read your post. We have a number of ash around our land and they're always so green and leafy in summer. When we were kids, we used ash branches to cook things over the bonfire.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry about your ash trees, but will be more sorry to see your blog go.....


Maya's Granny said...

The loss of a beloved tree can cut us to the quick. They give so much and take so little.

Rowan said...

I hope your ash trees can be saved, I know how I would feel if anything happened to the oak tree in my garden - the trees are familiar friends and it would be so sad to lose them.