The yew is the tree associated with this moon; by whom and why? In the forest, it is a haze of darkness amidst the bare grey of the deciduous trees, as if calling us forward to feel its embrace. What other evergreens are there in your environment? How does their energy or ‘song’ differ from those who have lost their leaves?
What is the tree, plant or animal that speaks to you most at this time? Why is mistletoe connected with this time of year? What is the tradition of the fir tree brought inside, and what is the older tradition of your landscape and people?”
With the wind storms here lately, and the power going in and out, I have had opportunity to clearly hear the song of the evergreen. The primary evergreen here is the iconic Douglas Fir, featured on the flag of the region, Cascadia. Certainly the sound of the Doug Fir differs from the high-pitched swishing sound of win-disturbed deciduous leaves, which flap and and catch the wind on their broad, flat surfaces like small kites. The boughs of the Doug fir, by contrast, carry the weft of the wind through the branch, made up of tiny needles. So the voice of the Doug fir is a deep, resonant swooshing sound, a bass to the maple tree’s soprano. The leaves of the maple, the deciduous tree in my yard, are new every year, and seem to always have a youthful sound about them. The Doug fir, while it does grow new needles each spring, and shed older ones, seems to have more of an air of permanence about it, of old age, of wise elderhood. This may also be due to the fact that the Doug fir was here when we moved in while we planted the maple. Surely ancient oak trees would not carry such an age contrast in this sense. But when the strong wind moves through the Doug fir, I have the impression of deep roots of old age channeling the very voice of inner earth, one that stops me in my tracks and commands me to listen. The maple tree instead softly enchants, inviting me to listen to the songs of the air and sky. But the maple sleeps right now. Usually maple’s song overpowers Doug fir’s song, but not in midwinter. Now is when Doug fir’s voice takes prominence, and demands to be heard. There is power in this voice: eternity and steadfastness, with echoes resonating up from deep within the land.