Dear Noble Fir,
You are our beloved giant that looks over our house and we find shelter under your branches. We love you so much and feel stronger because you are there. Your evergreen reminds us that spring will come again during the long winters.
You’re the best at giving us perspective.
Wisdoms keeper we love you!
Dear silver birch,
Are you still there? You were planted for Karen, and your sister was planted for Kirsty. 2 young sisters standing together. You kept growing when they couldn't.
Thank you for being a symbol of ritual, when none of us understood what was happening, and why she was gone. And thank you for helping me remember Karen, whenever I come across a young silver birch.
I really hope you and your sister stand strong, and maybe I can visit you again some time.
Dear Red Maple,
I feel the warmth of the sun when I place my hands on your trunk. Your tree bark and branches are dark and slender and I feel you are very feminine. In fact, we have named you Adelaide which means 'noble one'.
You are quietly standing by the side of our house and gently oversee the human activities in the sunroom. We wake up to you and the sun rising behind you, lighting your leaves aflame, and we watch you again as we gather at the end of a long day as the sun sets. Incredibly it seems to catch your leaves aflame again on its way to darkness. You have become the emblem of quiet hope and letting your light shine amid dark times. With no need to be in the front of the house where you would draw attention to yourself, you quietly inspire and nurture our family's hopes and dreams.
Thank you for bringing this spirit into our lives, we acknowledge you and the harmony you inspire throughout our daily mundane activities. We send our love to you,
The current family at Pryer Place
Quarry Wood, Cookham
You are everything to me. I come back to you and you are always there.
I sit under you when I practice. My wisdom grows most near you. My grandmother is in your soil. In my woodland kingdom you are the centre. Everything radiates from you. Everything grounds to you. We are trying to help. Give us the power and protection to help.
I pray that one day they can all see you like I see you.
Dear Baobab tree,
Thank you for your size, your shade, your unique silhouette that can be spotted from miles off on the horizon of a great plain. You remind me of the adventure I am living and the beauty on hand. You feel removed from the fears, the anxieties and the uncertain living we are all currently facing.
You are solid, dependable and steadfast. I know you will be there at our special camp, swing rope attached for hours of fun, giant branches and trunk providing shelter from all weather. I know big life is nearby when I spot you in the distance. Unexpected and expected. I know you from afar and feel safe up close.
Surely something so rooted and constant cannot be destroyed. You give me hope that we’re not close to a terrible ending. You give me courage to try to stop that terrible ending. It’s surely only an ending for us. You will endure. And perhaps you will, one day, ponder the shrieks of joy, the still contemplation and those gazes of wonder we gave to you.
I will look for you on the horizon. And at the top of the hill. Always in the big skies.
Du skydder vårt innsyn fra øst, og står så rankt og tørst.
Vi passer på hverandre du og jeg.
Battersea Park, London
If I were you
And you were me,
What might your
Sweet message be?
There was a time
When you and I
Beneath the sky
You left in search
Of greater power:
A hut, a house,
A shiny tower.
If you come back
I think you’ll find
I haven’t changed
In all that time.
When you are me
And I am you,
We’ll live in harmony
Dear Eccleston Square Silver Birch,
You are my favourite of three silver birches out in the square. I remember the silver birch in our family back garden, which was where I lived from 1961 till 1972 and my parents until 2010. We used to climb it, stand by it to be photographed, and look after it. You remind me of it, so you are very dear to me. Don’t tell anyone, but you know that I’ve hugged you on several occasions! Actually, why should that embarrass me?! Please tell everyone! You make me feel warm inside.
I love you because of your swirly trunk. And when I was 3, me and Vivi used to be monkeys on you.
So much love from W
Dear double flowering cherry,
This is my favourite time of year for you, beautiful cherry. You are bright and bold and you frame the view of the University of Glasgow's tower just perfectly. I remember you most in spring 2020, during the first lockdown. I had seen you and photographed you and loved you many years before that, but that year you really seemed magic. We were in isolation for 10 days in early April and in that time when we were away you exploded with blossom. I will always be grateful for the blossom that year, for ever and ever, and every spring a renewal of that gratitude.
And then in that winter, when it seemed that the ground was always shifting and we were trapped in a cycle and loneliness and no certainty, one thing I knew was that spring would come - that you would have blossom again. I didn't know when I would see my family, or if my job would still exist, or if my daughter would get to go to a library or a nursery or to make friends - but I knew you would bloom. Or if not you - even trees have a span - then one of your beautiful friends and family. Somewhere, blossoms would bloom, the light would return.
And I know we are moving into a time where the ground will always shift, all the certainties will be gone. But I hope to see you bloom, I know that even in the shifting time, the light and leaves will come somewhere.
I will leave you with one of my favourite poems, and you must hear it all the time, but the opening words come to me in a necklace sentence almost every time I see you -
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
It is Easter Sunday today - an important day to me. I have spent many more of my three score years and ten than AE Housman's 20, but I learned early from that poem, and from my blossom-obsessed Mum, to drink up the blossom each year. Thank you for giving it to me.
With my love and admiration and awe,
My garden in Cambridge UK
Dear Cherry Tree,
One of my favourite times of year is when I can set my hammock up underneath you, and you provide me with a beautiful green leafy mesh through which to view the sky. Equal parts shade and sunshine, (because of course I move around my hammock to what works best for us both and our pal the sun), it feels like a safe haven that makes me feel endlessly grateful for my garden.
For the last few days, your white petals have been falling all over our garden, softly in the breeze, but sometimes more like the pandemonium when people throw rice and petals at a couple after their wedding ceremony. I live for the drama and romanticism of your display. The weeks of blossom are so short, but worth every moment.
I sometimes feel sad that we don't actually get any cherries from you, we both know how frustrated I get with the sky chickens that swoop in and take them from you. But, you are good to them, you are a home and provider for many - a role I respect. And at least the birds are extremely entertaining - especially when the blackbirds bicker over the cherries that have landed in the grass below.
Looking forward to another hazy summer with you.
With admiration and gratitude,
Wrenfield paddock, Salisbury, UK
Dear Ellison A,
At least, that's a name that I feel suits you. May I call you Ellie? We have had a relationship for 37 years now. I woke up this morning looking out at you.
The sky was overcast, your blossom shone.
A light rain fell, your blossom sparkled.
I am writing to appreciate some of your qualities and your gift of them to all:
* An envelope dome of twigs, then of leaves, then of blossom, then of green leaves later turning, turning: green, yellow, amber and umber as the seasons roll.
* You are a bower: a safe enclosed hollow beneath the dome and the tangle of criss-crossing branches and twigs, where chickens scratch and children play.
* Your horizontal trunk a bench in the bower for humans, a balancing bar for children, a roost for hens and day-strutting cock.
* Your vertical trunk the Atlas that supports your crop of delicious apples from year to year.
* The way you protect those apples within the dome from casual marauders. Only a few of the hundreds of apples in September are visible from outside.
You bless this place and all who live and visit it and many further away. All are incomparably enriched.
Vitry Sur Seine
Dear Pink, tree of my childhood,
You travelled as a baby from Japan and you were planted near the time of my birth in another land, another soil than the one where the mother tree you came from.
You and I witnessed each other grow up.
You taught me that regardless of how we feel, regardless of the storms and the bumps in the road,....winter will pass and the bright pink exploding flowers will come again...regardless. they will come.
I leant on you, I hugged you, I played 'it' with my brother around you, I measured myself, felt myself getting taller around you. And you were just there, happy , rooted, solid, witnessing it all, surrounding your leaves, conserving sap deep underground, letting the sap rise again, creating more beautiful leaves and flowers....letting the petals go and fly in the wind. The green lawn becoming pink lawn for a temporary spring moment. And then letting go our your leaves once more in the seasonal dance of your life. Teaching me to do the same....
There is a season for everything. Time to flourish and create and a time to yield, surrender and let go.
Thank you Pink for your solidity and your teachings.
Dear beautiful old tree,
You scatter your leaves all over my garden when the winds blow but I don't mind.
You look so strong and healthy.
I love saying hello to you when I see you and it's great to share my garden with you.
I saw you every morning, growing up, while I was growing up too. We both grew together. I climbed you until I was too big for you to support me.
Thank you for being a marker of a different kind of time. I spent so much of my childhood dreaming of getting away, and now all I want is to be back.
You stood so quietly while our lives unfolded. We ran around you noisily, hung a swing from you, fell from your branches.
As we aged, we came to you to breathe. To hide our thoughts.
And when we left, your apples still grew, daffodils under your canopy, moss spreading over your bark.
Where are you now? Whose secrets do you hold? What did you do with the love and mess we left behind?
In my mind today, as I teach, I will lean my spine against your trunk. I will lift up to your branches as I breathe in, and down in to your roots as I exhale.
And I’ll do that to say thank you. For listening and for reminding us that stillness and presence is all we need, to know love.
From my heart,
I hope the
come back tomorrow.
Thanks for all the oxygen. How’s it hanging?
I've watched you dance in the breeze since I was 7 years old. For years you offered me support - my swing tied to your branches - my back supported on your trunk as I sat beneath you. I love your curly leaves, almost touching the ground. When you were hit by lightening and split in half I thought I'd lost you forever but you've kept going and now you are just a slightly thinner version of your former self. Now I'm older and no longer with you every day, I close my eyes and can still see you dancing. Thank you for bringing me so much joy and peace for so many years.
Love S x
A Eulogy for Agatha
Friend, Your vein-like branches were an illustration of what it looks like to be alive. You must have been an old friend too, hundreds of years old- at least. I loved each day I got to pass under you on my daily walk. I would reach your trunk and just breathe: inhale, exhale. It was more than a gentle reminder it was a reflex. You held power in that way. A quiet, strong power. Your life’s purpose was to be still, and be present, two lessons I didn’t know I needed to learn until I met you. And no matter how hard my buzzing mind fought against it you magnetized me into the present moment time and time again. Each morning standing under your branches, I would arrive. I’d think to myself “there really is no place like home.”
Then one day you were accompanied with a noise- a loud roaring and sharp cracking. You were so immense with branches so intricate that it took a team of men and three whole days to deconstruct you. The sky never looked so empty and I never expected to feel so sad, my friend. My hope is that you live on in some way, if not just in my own heart. Thank you for everything, I love you.
Dear Ash Tree
You preside majestically over our garden and family home. You have seen our family grow over the twenty-nine years we have lived here in this beautiful leafy part of historic Winchester. You provide us with shade, inspiration, greenness and so much else, being the noble centre of a remarkable screen of trees on the steep side of the hill facing us. You show no signs of succumbing to the dreadful Ash Die-back disease that is currently destroying your fellow ash trees all around the country.
Each year I prevent the ivy from growing up your beautiful smooth bole. Like you, I try to be tolerant of the many annoying wood pigeons who plunder the tender shoots at the ends of your graceful branches each spring.
Long may you endure here with your companions, long after my family no longer have stewardship of this much-loved house and garden. You have always been a magnificent source of inspiration and hope to me.
Dear tree in my front yard,
Ever since I was a little kid... we have been friends. I've climbed you, fell out of you, gotten your pink flowers in the spring in my hair. My mom and I have played with dolls in your shade and I've jumped in your leaves in the fall. You may not realize how good of friends we are but you remind me of a safe place and a safe space. Home.
I'm a fraud. I can't think of one single, specific, majestic tree rooted in my memories. Maybe that says more about my memory. But no one ever fashioned me an amenity-less house balanced across the branches of one. I never broke a limb tumbling off of one. Never branded bark with my initials and a love heart. Sure, I hugged a few. Camped among them. Admired endless in awe, in terror, in wonder. Occasionally amplified by hallucinogenics. But I shouldn't need those to appreciate what's in front/above me. I should look up more.
Dear Mademoiselle Amelanchier,
As you know my husband bought you as a birthday present for me although when I say bought, I wouldn't want you to think that you aren't your own woman: you are free to leave at any time, although I don't think that may be feasible.
I just wanted to say thank you for transforming a very ordinary square of green grass into a place of repose and great beauty. The blue tits love to sit in your branches and your dainty pale blossoms dancing against a blue, sunny sky - well, it all reminds me of some beautiful Japanese art, and delights me greatly.
You seem very wise already although I know you are only semi-mature. I think you will grow into your role of holding a space for meditation and mindfulness in the garden. I think you will be good for people's hearts.
I have had a feeling lately that you have struck up a relationship with the boy next door - the Crab Apple Tree on the other side of the fence. His future looked rather uncertain at one time, so he must be really thrilled to be here to enjoy your gaiety and youthful charms. He should prove a good companion tree for you albeit you will only be able to communicate for now through a hole in the fence like Pyramus and Thisbe. But when you grow up, who knows.......!
When we planted you we had a strong sense of feeling responsible for making sure you had a long and illustrious life, unperturbed, and able to expand into your highest expression. We shall keep our word. Love always, M X
Clifton, Bristol, UK
Dear Copper Beech Tree,
You have looked over me at my parents house for as long as I can remember. You used to make me feel gloomy because your red leaves always made me think that autumn was coming; but since moving away and starting my own family, your deep red leaves are welcoming and warm - like coming home to the hearth.
You must be ancient as you are so very tall; I wonder how many families you have watched grow over the decades? Thank you for your reliable clout and brazen splendor; my roots will always be intertwined with yours.
You were so beautiful with your lovely blossoms.
The best tree in school
Even as children take your leaves
But you got sick.
You got cut down.
No more blossoms
No more beauty.
We planted another one.
To keep the memory of you alive
This one grew tall
Almost as tall as you.
I haven’t seen it in years
But I imagine it’s still there
It’s leaves swaying softly in the breeze
I love you and I play with you with Theo. I miss Theo and the tree.
I was looking for you in the forest. You've got a long stripe on your head.
Love from C
Dear rotting trunk,
We went on a walk on the first day of our honeymoon, and there you were. You were softly disintegrating and becoming ground. We felt the urge to assist you. We kicked you and prized at you. We felt satisfaction in breaking your once-strong now-loose form. We felt like vandals, like naughty teenagers, but we also felt like we were being asked to do it. You were done being a tree. You were ready to enrich the soil. And we were there to help you.
We often think about you and feel gratitude. As we began our marriage, you helped us begin another journey that re-connected us to nature, and awoke a deeper instinct to participate in the natural way of things.
What are you now?
Dear Happy Tree,
I'm still not sure what exactly you're so happy about, but your smile makes us all smile back every time we see you. I first met you in the autumn of 2020 when I began exploring my new neighbourhood. Your crooked nose and cheeky grin were clear to see, as you stood alone and proud in your meadow.
I visited regularly, sometimes walking, sometimes running, but whatever the weather and time of day, your smile remained fixed, and although it was fixed, you seemed to smile at me, to greet me, your face seemed to come to life and welcome me to your field.
We picnicked underneath you, and sat as the evening drew in. We talked about the arrival of our new child and how one day he would too come and see you and we knew that you'd be here waiting to smile back at him.
I don't think I'll ever know exactly what makes you so happy, but I know that your happiness is something I strive to emulate. I aim to have your resilience in the face of bad weather, your reliability and trustworthiness no matter what time of day or year, and hopefully it will help me age as well as you have.
Thank you for being there when I was at my loneliest.
I was seven years old, and away from my family in boarding school in England. They were in Africa, and I didn't know England very well. But you were somehow familiar, in both senses.
At break-time, when I was by myself, you were there to sit under and play with. Your chesnuts were a welcome distraction from those painful times. I ate some, I think, hope you were ok with that.
I gave you hugs when there was no one else to hug.
That's you in the background of my team photos, later, when I was doing well at sport. I felt proud then, and glad to be finding community.
Finding community was hard, humans can be judgemental and unkind, but you never were. You just stood, gentle but firm, quiet in your presence but loud in your love.
You are so beautiful, I am so sorry that we are failing you. Some of us are trying, please know that.
I love you, and thank you.
Thank you for your support during the first few days of M's life. It wasn't easy to be at the hospital: I was very tired and they didn't want me there. But seeing you from the window was such a comfort. Thank you for watching over M and protecting her. A blessing on your gnarly trunk.
Dear little Silver Birch,
Because of you I live in my gorgeous home. I knew when I first saw you freshly planted and ready to grow, just like the brand new house we were trying to buy, that I was meant to live there.
Your delicate silver bark, so soft to the touch, and your small, fluttering leaves, took me back to a very safe place in my childhood. A large, old ancestor of yours stood proudly in my grandparents' back garden, which is where I fell in love with the beauty of your species. A wobbly step ladder called me up to heights higher than I'd ever climbed before, and once up on the first, large, horizontal branch, I'd sit with my legs dangling, feeling nervous but triumphant for reaching this spot. I felt free and in the moment without knowing how important and special this was.
The characters from Enid Blyton's Magic Far Away Tree would join me in this special place and I'd chat to them and create imaginary doorways up and down the trunk where each of those characters lived. I'd visit for tea and cake and build relationships with each of the characters. And when I was done the helter-skelter slide that wrapped around the thick trunk took me down to the bottom with such imaginary fun.
That was my safe space as a little girl who had just been separated from her dad. And you, little gorgeous tree, made me feel safe when I moved to this new home. I hope I am around for long enough to watch you grow as big and strong as my old friend and I promise I will look out for you along the way.
Lots of love, M xxx
My dearest beautiful tree
You have been in my garden since I bought this dilapidated and abandoned house and renovated it two decades ago. Everyone in the neighbourhood wanted me to get rid of you because you are so tall and magnificent you blocked their view. But even not knowing what I know now, I could not bring myself to cut such a splendid tree.
I only discovered today you are a Cypress, but not just any cypress; a Cupressus arizonica glauca - that makes you a smoky pale blue grey shaggy mast with thousands of tiny fractal needles and tight, tight bundles of brown hard knob cones that are decorated in the same hexagon pattern as a soccer ball. They remind me of a bunch of bells on a stick at Christmas. I almost expect to shake them and hear a jingling sound.
You have a bark that is crusty and weeps resin. It reminds me of a dried sandy lake. It makes it hard for me to hug you - and I do from time to time. But you cover me in sweet smelling resin which takes ages to get rid of and smudges from a clear amber honey to a grey sticky glue. As if you won't let me forget you.
Your needles are a deep grey, sage green and smell of the sweetest orange you could ever imagine.
You have housed families of magpies and wood pigeons - sometimes simultaneously - in your tall branches. I have loved hearing their cackles and coos. Sometimes large hawks will perch on you. When I walk underneath you, I study the insects and creatures that live on and around you. On hot summer days, I feel the cool air that you exude and I love your benevolent shade and the beautiful effect of snow on your branches in winter. I love the life that you support underneath. You even have a baby tree that is growing quite close to you. Do I move it or keep it near you?
I have seen you move in the wind, as if you are dancing to a silent disco - swaying and sashaying to some music on a higher plane than I will ever hear.
You have weathered extreme hailstorms where once you shed branches and a dump truck load of needles all over the grass below. A heavy snowstorm lost you some lower branches. I had to go out in the middle of the night to remove a 100 kilo branch from the communal driveway. It was so sad as I know you need that branch. But each day you are there, and you have witnessed the evolution of my life and my family and I have loved you for it.
Soon, I will have to leave this place and my heart aches for what the next owner might do. Will they respect and love you as much as we have loved each other.
You are my friend - and you have watched my family and my life unfold: Silently but solidly.
I love you
I don't know your name yet (although I believe you are a he) after more than two years of training around you, practising my movements, my breathing and admiring our beautiful world as seen from your vantage point in Hackney Downs Park... you said hello. Just hello. "Look at me. Really see me." And I did.
You are not the only Tree in the park. Of course. Come on. In fact, by comparison (although majestic individually) lets be honest there are far more impressive examples on the block. But you spoke to me, and I am grateful to have met you. You do a good job for us Tree. When I need clarity, I sometimes think of you and channel your calm stability and energy.
So thanks once again and a very happy Spring to you Tree, I'm happy to see you looking so healthy and well as we enter 2022. I truly hope you and all your friends stay so.
But, what's your name?
Dear Rowan Tree,
We planted you to celebrate our daughter Lucia's naming day, these were the words we shared with our friends and family on that day.
The Rowan Tree: Meaning The Tree of Life and The Magic Tree - Symbolising courage, wisdom & protection, healing, success, power and intuition. Its delicate leaves hold perfect symmetry, berries like drops of blood, and petals loved by honey bees & wild birds.
Lucia: Meaning bringer of light, freshness, positivity & Grace
...and this is the poem we recited as we covered your roots in soil.
To call a thing by a name is to give it power
A name is a gift, a blessing of new life
To welcome them into our hearts
To love and to nurture
To lead them to be good people
To guide them along the right path
To both teach them and to learn from them
To reign them in and to give them wings
To smile at their joy and weep at their pain
To walk beside them and allow them to walk alone
May you stand tall but grow slowly
Mum and Dad
Dear Hardy Tree,
I wonder what it feels like to be burdened with so many headstones surrounding you for over 100 years that you have been supporting what remains of people moved aside by industrialization.
Thank you for touching me with your story and for the lessons you taught me in 1 short day about what is important in living life.
“Here's the new race: how slow can you go?
Here's the new definition of success: how relaxed can you be?
How much more can you rest?
How deeply can you refuse the test of stress?
How sensually from the armor can you unpeel?
How luscious and alive can you feel?"
-- Michelle Grambeau