Now this will sound bizarre but as I have mentioned before, I love going on long walks in the countryside. I am amazed at the luscious green fields, the rolling mountains, the magnificent foliage especially at this time of the year.
But the one thing that I have always felt a connection with is trees. Stay with me! We haven’t time travelled to the seventies to the age of Kum Bay Yah-singing, weed-smoking, tree-hugging, flower power-loving hippies.
There is just something about trees that makes me think that they know more than we do.
The evergreens; never changing, resolute and unashamedly themselves all year long. Those big, bold, beautiful oak trees; so proud and tall watching over the ever-changing landscapes. They must have seen such joyful and happy times in Ireland.
Weddings, where love was being celebrated and everybody’s heart was full of hope and wishes for those couples embarking on the start of their lives together. The trees were there.
Babies were born and families were created. The trees stood there and gently rustled their leaves and swayed a rhythmic dance to soothe those babes to sleep. The trees were there.
Dances in the local halls, filled with young people enjoying the fullness of life, eyes gleaming with excitement for the future. The trees were there.
Funerals, the tragic ones, where we wept and mourned our losses. Eyes red and puffy. Talk of how unfair it all is and how we will we live again? And the ones that we could accept with grace and dignity. When we could say, “He lived a good long life.”
The trees were there with tears falling from their branches, to comfort us and empathise with our grief. The trees were there.
Where I grew up legend has it that a particular tree, which was mature during famine years, was used by local people taking their own lives. That tree, with its dark, twisted branches, stood tall and strong for centuries, taking on the burdens and sadness of all it had seen.
I used to sit underneath it and read books, and I liked to think that I created happy memories for that tree and helped to nurture it with some happy thoughts.
Every time I am around trees I feel a sense of how small I am in this world. Just a tiny dot in history. But I like to think, as I silently whisper to the trees, that for centuries to come they will not forget me.
They will remember how I appreciated their wisdom and that one day, I too will become part of that magnificent history.