Tuesday, September 17, 2019

For the Great Oaks

In September, every garment in my wardrobe seems to have acorns and pine cones in its pockets, offerings from trees in the Lanark highlands, and after years of rambling the hills and valleys of the Two Hundred Acre Wood, I have come to think of its towering woodland people as sisters. On sunny autumn days, I find a comfortable seat among my kin, and we have conversations, some of the most thoughtful and enlightening discussions ever. I have no leaves, and I don't bear acorns, but the great oaks welcome me nevertheless.

Pockets without acorns rattling around in their depths enfold other offerings, pine and spruce cones, walnuts, butternuts, beech nuts and shagbark hickory nuts. I adore their shapes, their colors, their textures, their fragrance, the whole season of their fruiting, and I can never resist gathering such things out in the forest. Autumn is a season of entelechy, a time of becoming, of once and future trees. In the words of poet and typographer Robert Bringhurst:

"Seeds and seed capsules, in nature, are unfailingly elegant. Form not only follows function in these structures; it chases it around, like a mouse with a moth or a cat with a mouse. Immense amounts of information and nutrition are routinely housed in spaces handsome far beyond necessity and compact beyond belief."
Robert Bringhurst, The Tree of Meaning, Language, Mind and Ecology

Turning my pockets out this week before chucking everything into the washing machine, I realized that there has been a whole forest riding around with me for several days, and it made me smile. No need to pine for my tree sisters when I am away from the woods - they are right here with me.


Barbara Rogers said...


Debbie said...

Smiling so big your way, dearest Cate!!

I understand this one in my bones... at my old work, there were 4 lovelies in a small island that I would pass under to and from each day. I believe they were blessing me with each passing, whether I remembered (and was present) or not.

Sending much love from one tree loving sister to another.