Island Blog – Really

This morning I walked beneath the Still. The Still is a strange creature up here, on an island where winds reckon they can leap into any old mood, and without warning and without informing the helpful/not helpful weather apps on my phone, neither of which agree with each other. Much like the winds. Hallo, my friends, I say to the trees. Well done, you are still standing. They say nothing, holding in stasis. But they, unlike I and my schoolboy weather apps, just know more wind is coming.

I meet said wind this afternoon on another walk. Oh, Hallo my friends, you are dancing to the new beat, the beat of this wind, this not-yesterday wind, nor to the beat of a gale…….Oh shutup about that gale, they wheeshed at me and, ps, there is no beat to a gale, only rant and shout and punch and all of it beat-less, rhythm-less. I chuckle and bow to their deeper knowledge, and then I ask them, do you know when a gale is coming, a storm? The trees roll their eyes at me. Duh!

I walk on looking up to where the bony branches move and dance and sway and bend to a force they know of old even if I never quite know; one which has pounded skies and islands, seas and trees for centuries. Honestly folks, it is never going to change. The elements are four things we can contain, shut out, hide from, even deny, but never control. Not never (love a double negative) but only prepare for as best we can. Back in the days when humans just knew, feeling the change in smell, in the sky, in the behaviour of animals, who still work with the elements, we would plan our days so differently. We would be in tune with the forces that, even inside a city, could be our guides, our helpers and our warnings. Like the trees.

Did you know that trees will send more strength to their roots when they know a gale is coming? Did you know that they will also enhance the root support already in place for a weaker tree so that it might survive the gale? Check out The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. It will astonish you. This is why I talk to the trees. There is the overstory, that’s me in my boots and then, oh then, there is the understory which is astonishing.

Anyway. I stop to hear their song in the afternoon, watch the knuckle bare winter branches comb the wind. I hear their song, one for beeches, a different one for silver birches, another for hazels. I call them (the hazels) the chorus, and they have pulled me up on that. I explain that being one of a chorus is an individual role. Each one of you is important. Without you, or you, there would be no choir. They settle at that. I move on to the pine tops, singing away, slicing the grey sky with needle fingers and with their stop point half way to Mars (swaggering actually) but I get it. If I was 100 feet up there, I just might feel pretty good about myself. I watch tits dart from pine to pine, from fir to fir and it thinks me. This whole woodland knows itself. It knows what it needs and how to get it and it has held that knowing for centuries. We think we know how to live together.


3 thoughts on “Island Blog – Really

  1. The Hidden Life of Trees! What a marvelous book! The understory is astonishing! We humans, living among the trees and all of nature, try so hard, but that’s the problem, right? It’s the endless pursuit of control that gets in our way of living together. We really ought to take our cues from Mother Nature! ~Susan

  2. There is no separation. The human animal IS nature. We are entwined, entangled and engulfed within the systems of planet Earth and beyond,
    Many indigenous peoples hold the awareness of this state of being and live accordingly.

    Tens of thousands of years ago we all would have had this awareness but fast forward to now and we have (mostly) lost it – to our detriment.

    Thankyou Judy for raising up the trees, the birds, the sky, the sea, the earth, the wind, the sun and all that we live within/amongst/beside/inside xx

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