For the love of trees

Did you know, there are more trees on this planet than there are stars in the Milky Way?

When I started my blog nine (wow, NINE) years ago, I always wanted it to be a diverse place where I could share the variety of things that I’m generally ‘digging’.  Sometimes I wish I had a consistent theme, but most of the time I’m glad that I can frivolously hop from talking about skincare to interiors to crystals to fitness, and now…. to trees.  Walt Whitman famously said “I am large, I contain multitudes”, and whilst at the heart of it I remain the same essential oil dabbing, herbal tea drinking, animal squeezing, tarot card reading, hippy wannabe – I also go a little wild for a new serum and get my acrylic nails in-filled every few weeks.  And my blog will always be a little varied – but I know that I do want to start focussing in even more on those wellbeing, spirituality and ‘green’ passions that really are at the heart of who I am.

So, trees.

trees in the woods

In my last blog post I talked about feeling out of alignment, and so now I want to share the ways I’m aiming to find my way back to the path.  And one of those ways is literally – walking those dirt paths, and spending more time in nature.  (Along with considering how I can fill it with shrubs and trees from The Tree Center to create my own green haven – I’d especially love an apple tree).

There’s a path at the end of my road that leads into thick woodland.  If you push through the rusting turnstile and wander along the winding dirt path (thick with mud during rainy periods, hard and cracked in the summer), the trees quickly close in around you.  I sometimes imagine it as the barrel of an enormous wave – the branches literally envelop you in an arching curve of green – so that the further you walk, the deeper into the swathes of the woods you feel.  You could be anywhere in the world, at any point in history, and I find that somehow reassuring.  The only noises I ever hear when walking that path are the flutter of leaves in the breeze, the distant bark of a dog, and the splashes of water as you approach the fishing lake.  The lake too – bordered by towering oaks and weeping willow that dangle their lazy arms into the water; dragging their fingers through the depths and creating ripples on the surface.  It is bliss and I always find myself hungrily gulping in the air – especially after a long day in an air-conditioned office or on public transport.  And I always find myself grateful for the trees (and sometimes I touch them.  Don’t tell anyone).

trees from the window

In the (recent-ish) BBC programme ‘My Passion For Trees‘ with Judi Dench, she says, “My life now is just trees.  Trees and um… champagne”.  And that’s definitely the type of person I want to be when I’m in my 80s!  I think about that programme often since I watched it.  In it, Judi learned all about how the trees in her six acres of woodland (man, GOALS) form communities and even communicate with each other.  Trees are connected by their roots, which grow together like a network.  Trees can tell through their roots which other trees their connected to of their own species, and can even heal sick trees by providing them food and energy.  Trees also send chemical signals through the air when they’re attacked by insects so that nearby trees can defend themselves! (Some scientists called this the Wood Wide Web).  The Japanese have a practice called Shinrin Yoku – taking in the forest atmosphere, or ‘forest bathing’.  There are many scientific studies that now prove the health benefits of being in wild or natural places.  These include reduced blood pressure, improved mood, improved sleep and increased energy level.

With the amazing weather we’re having lately I’m making it a pledge of mine to spend as much time in nature as possible, and I know the enormous impact it has on my mood, and my feelings of being more ‘in flow’ and true to my authentic self.  There’s something really special to me about being around trees, especially now I know they are talking to each other and healing each other.  In a way, they’re also healing me.

*Post contains a collaborative link