If ever we had a #treeteaching lesson this week it is the one from this most un-assuming of #plants. Look at where it is growing. Here it is, metal fence to one side and chain link to the other, with a concrete post looming over it by a tarmac path. What could be more depressing, more desolate, and grim a situation? Yet still it grows. Still it remains evergreen. Still it has put forth buds. Now, it flowers.
Here is the blog with forest bathing meditation audio. For just the blog and pics read below
I was walking along a footpath that I must have used hundreds, if not thousands of times, when out of the blue this small shrub caught my attention. I have passed it and never noticed it and yet … now it sings.
What struck me, and no doubt will you when you look at the photograph, is where it is growing. Caught between two fences it is managing to not just grow but to flower. It’s flowers look so glorious shining and singing. “Don’t be ridiculous” I can hear someone say, "Flowers don't sing". But look at it, look at those beautiful, brim full with hope, gleaming beaming flowers and say you cannot imagine why I would say that!
And what flowers they are! Golden globes like mini suns drip from its branches. They are like little sweets fit for the gods. Which when eaten provoke such speech as to make mountains weep, rivers sing, and cause the stars to be caught up in birds beaks . These magical balls such as a princess might own, open up into precious pretty little bells that tinkle delightfully. What witch wouldn't covet one?
The colour of sunshine and butter, corn and canaries. These flowers are delicious, a feast for the eyes. They are a feast for insects and birds too.
This particular plant I found is about knee height and therefore easily over looked. Known as Grape Holly it is a #Mahonia. Usually a shrub but can sometimes grow as a small tree. Not only does it often flower over winter but its blooms are fragrant and if that were not enough the berries can be used to make jam. The little flowers are rich in nectar and pollen. Its’ flowers are small and, as they say, good things come in small packages.
We must look in unexpected places to find the source of our joy. We must look in unexpected places to find the source of our comforts. We need to reassess what we value, what we see as precious. We must open to the beauty of nature.
We have put all of #nature into a cage. This little plant is living proof in this particular moment. Now because of the #CoronaVirus, we too are being put in a cage of our own making. The animals didn't ask to be caught and put in cages, the #forests did not ask to be swept away to the far corners of the earth, the birds did not ask for nails to be put out on ledges so they have no home to roost. Nor did the mighty salmon, that great #Celtic fish of wisdom who swam from sea to spring, from heart to soul, ask to be treated like factory fodder. Herded en masse into diseased prisons so we humans could pretend we are eating the food of kings and think it a treat to have a whole factory farmed one for Christmas. Such is the life of this magnificent fish who once had the whole of the oceans as their domain. Such is our vanity. We are being put in a cage of our own making because of the life we have chosen. Nature didn't make this we did.
With so many already in #isolation and in #lockdown this little plant shows us that it is possible to grow in constricting conditions. Not just this, but this little plant doesn’t just teach us about survival, it shows us also that it is entirely possible to flower and to do so most beautifully and generously. The Italians are singing from their balconies despite the terrible toll inflicted upon them. Friends of mine are dancing via videos on Facebook. Volunteer teams are springing up ready to take food to the vulnerable. Everywhere communities are coming together.
Whilst we are paying a terrible price for the lack of care we have shown to this planet nevertheless nature does have lessons for us if we are willing to put something else, rather than ourselves, at the centre of our attention.
As the sky clears its cage of smog we have the chance to view a wild and free heaven. Look out of your windows and look, and listen to the #wildsoul call of nature. We humans must allow our hearts to #rewild.
This #AncientandSacredTrees website is free to join. There is a Positive newsletter and more. My fantastic AST team of moderators are helping care for our online Facebook groups. Our ethos is #PosiviTree. Come be a part of our green and growing CommuniTree. Over the coming weeks even more is going to be happening online and I would love you to be a part of it.
#PosiviTreeForCommuniTree has been the ethos of Ancient and Sacred Trees since the day it was set up in January 2014. #mentalhealth is more important than ever. Happy people really do make the world a better place. Contentment is to be found in the joy of small moments.
Bless you all and stay safe.
Amanda Claire x
www.jackinthegreen.org is a small ethical gift shop helping trees.
If like me you believe everyone should have access to nature for free for the good of people and planet, you can help support AST via https://www.buymeacoffee.com/AmandaClaireVesty