I have made many new friends going on my daily walk. Most of them are tree people.
In the fall when I began, it was the Hawthorn people who caught most of my attention, with their bright red berries adorning their branches. These weren’t located conveniently for me to spend time communing with them, so I have not yet caught their song. But I have been hearing the songs of others.
In the depths of midwinter it was Oak who caught my attention, holding onto its dead leaves through its winter’s rest as it does, and shaking like a shaman’s rattle in the winds. I stood beneath them and let their shaking resonate around me, through me, and heard its Oak Song. Oak sings of realignment with the worlds, calling and gathering back together fragmented parts of the self with its many leaves, drawing them in like magnets, and dropping them back into their right places. Then its song resonates through the inner Three Cauldrons noted in Irish lore, the Cauldron of Warming which is our seat of vitality, the Cauldron of Vocation which is our heart’s true expressions, and the Cauldron of Knowledge, our connection to the wisdom of the starry realm. Oak’s song resonates linearly through these spaces, bringing them into harmony with each other, rooting one firmly into the earth, stretching one up to the skies, and filling one’s heart/trunk with a steady light.
After midwinter passed, I began to notice Hazel. Her catkins began appearing shortly after the solstice, and have slowly lengthened and opened up over the last month. Her leaf buds have gradually swelled on her branches, and today I noted small red tips at the ends of the buds, signs of spring’s leafing out to come. Hazel is connected to the watery realm, like the Well of Wisdom in Irish lore, and Her song resonates in the heart center, like a pebble dropped in a quiet pond, its ripples sailing out to the edges. She sings of heart healing from emotional waves, bringing a balm to stormy feelings, soothing, calming, and supporting. Her song feels like a big warm hug. I am daily watching Her bring news of Springtime.
Shortly after, during the local wind storms, I began hearing the song of Douglas Fir. While most of the deciduous trees are leafless and sleeping this time of year, and quiet in the winds, the evergreens like Dougie channel the voice of the wind in big, booming gusts, often low enough to not be properly heard over the higher shooshing of the deciduous leaves, but winter is their season to command attention. Dougie’s branches lash to and fro, sweeping the air, and dispersing its oils like incense. Dougie’s song is full of vitality, very energetic- He says to me his song is for motivating, stimulating, getting what is stuck moving again, like the sap running down His trunk. These blockages could be emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical. His song shakes the system up, breaking up stagnation, and getting energy running again. And interestingly, Dougie sang to me two songs- one for clearing up the blockages, and the next one for bringing Light into the opened-up spaces. This song is like a brisk dance followed by basking in sunlight! It was quite invigorating, especially on a chilly winter morning! Dougie is the iconic tree of these lands here on the northwest coast.
Each day on my walk, I greet my friends. Sometimes I bring them gifts of birdseed. Sometimes I gift them with the Green Breath, when I stand beside them and breathe in their energies, and breathe out my CO2 to them, in a give-and-take flow. I gifted them before I was permitted to hear their songs. I have also been gifting and greeting Cedar, and hope to hear this song next. Cedar is a key tree in the traditional lore and lifeways of the indigenous peoples where I live in Cascadia. Already I sense a very deep energy here. I also greet and breathe with a row of Hemlock I pass under, and hope to hear their songs more clearly soon as well; their energy feels dense and dark, like the depths of a forest.
These daily druidic walks give me fresh air, exercise, sunlight, and spiritual growth through new communions with new friends. I am very thankful for this very simple daily practice which nourishes me in so many ways.