In times of turbulence and change it becomes easy to wonder what's happening to the world. Hope can disappear. Heads down, we go on with life, but with a little heaviness in our hearts that can be hard to shift. It's times like these that mean we need nature more than ever. Here in the UK, when all of a sudden our nature is threatened in a way we could not imagine, we need nature now.
It calms, reassures, reminds us that life goes on, and I experienced this this week in a way I did not expect.
An alder. Clearly chopped down with someone lacking respect and care for the task at hand. An old alder, part of an ancient woodland. Alder. I love alder: one of my favourite trees. A tree that lives by the water (therefore I often find it in my favourite places as I am drawn, always, inexplicably, endlessly, towards water...) and which features in many folklorish stories and tales. It's the wood to use for foundations, as it does not rot in wet conditions. It is used to make clogs, and is associated with outlaws and hiding. Alder - go out and greet an alder this weekend. A weekend for appreciation.
Anyway, I digress. It was an alder, you see. Chopped down rather brutally approximately three months ago (I know this as I saw it just after it was cut down and a part of me felt cut down too - how good we are at destruction, we humans...). And yet now life was springing out of it at all sides. It was refusing to die. What caught me was the speed at which this tree had sent out new shoots. It wasn't giving in, or resting a while, it put all it's energy into fighting to stay strong, alive and to keep going forward. And that's what the world needs from us right now. We must not give up. We must keep looking forward. And we must always, always, always keep our hope in a little safe place next to our hearts. To lose our hope is to lose our souls, and once they are gone we won't care for the future and it is that that's most terrifying of all.