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Bread and Cheese - Tree Teaching


I was walking down a little pathway near my house when I spotted this. It was in fact the same path where I spotted the Mahonia from last weeks’ #treeteaching.

Welcome. Every week you will find a tree teaching, #wildwisdom and tree prayers and tree blessing. They are offered to you for free. I am a passionate believer in access to nature for all. Only by connecting ourselves with the wider ecosystem can we begin to remember our #natureconnection and #rewild ourselves. We need culture change if we are to bring about the changes necessary to care for our planet. 

This is what happens when you pay attention to one place and develop a #relationship with it. You find the place and its’ beings start to ‘speak’ to you. Some of my AST members have also developed deep relationships with a place in the #landscape. Let me make this clear, this can happen in an urban setting as well as out in the sticks. Of course, being outside truly in the wild you will get a much deeper and wider and broader connection but nevertheless even in town the #land is still there beneath our feet, the sky, the wind, the rain the sun, the clouds and some plants and trees.

When you connect with a place you see the same trees and landscape features revealed time and time again. I think this it is marvellous when members share the same place over and over in their photos because it is only by building a relationship with the land that we can then start to develop a connection, and with that #connection comes a ‘sense of place’. This #senseofplace is really special. There is the sense of really sinking into the land and gaining insight into it as a living breathing entity. Your senses become heightened and #alive to every nuance.

On becoming this sensitive something else happens too. If you spend enough time sitting with the land you will eventually gain an insight into life and your place within it. A living being as part of a living landscape. A living being sharing the planet with other living beings. To sit and be fully #present to the miracle of #life means being fully present also to the presence of death. I wrote about this in a post here.

To sum up being this present, this awareness has far reaching consequences. As a living being there is an awareness of the part we play in the wider eco system. So, for example, you sit down to your meal and you see all the living beings on your plate that gave their lives that you might live. The plant and animal beings that were once alive and a part of the land like you are now. This isn’t a diatribe to exhort you into one particular food eating system but it is an invitation to think about where your food has come from and how. You cannot be present to life without death and when you are present to both you realise the miracle it is and how extraordinary the world is.

So, what was the thing that led me to this train of thought and how?

A Taste of Spring

I was walking down the path and on my left was a hawthorn hedge. Slowly the leaves have been opening day by day in such a bright and hopeful green. I love to see the hawthorn. As one of the earliest #trees to come out in leaf it always makes me so happy to see it. I stopped and just gazed at this beautiful spring green when the phrase ‘bread and cheese’ popped into my mind. Some of you will of course know that hawthorn leaves are referred to as bread and cheese, especially when young. Try some, they are tasty and make a nice addition to salads.

That fresh taste of wild fresh young green spring leaf has to be experienced to really understand how it seems to encompass the spirit of the #greenandgrowing. You tug at the young leaf feeling slight resistance before it comes away from the branch, then you lift your arm and place the leaf in your mouth. You tongue feels its’ shape before your teeth grind down releasing the first tangy earthy juices that greet your taste buds.

Bread and cheese, in the past were two staple foods relied upon to keep hunger at bay for the poor, and after the winter as one of the earliest trees to come into leaf the #hawthorn provides a valuable food source. How often do we see in fairy tales the hero or heroine sitting down to a repast of bread and cheese? How often too that it is their very willingness to share what little they have that then transforms into rich reward? (I won’t go into this more now as I can see its’s worthy of an article on its own and fairy tales are something Im going to be exploring very soon). This nickname gives an insight into our relationship with trees. How in the past we really understood how interlinked with the world around us we really are and how important trees are as a part of that relationship and how fundamental to our survival.

When we make a connection to a tree it is a step to gaining relationship with the wider landscape. Hawthorns are versatile and hardy little trees more often to be found as hedges in urban areas. If you haven’t tried the leaves, go find a tree or hedge and get some. (Particularly if you’re in an urban area get leaves from a part of the tree or hedge not likely touched by someone else and give them a rinse).

You don’t have to trek out into the wilderness to start your process of #rewilding, you can do it right now. If we are to have the ‘bread and cheese’ of the future we need to rekindle our relationships. We need to #rewild inside and out. The trees are a good place to start.

Blessings Amanda Claire

PS if you're waiting for the audio with forest bathing meditation I will update this article and YouTube as soon as I can. x


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