I sit with a large winter tree. I choose this tree because they are clearly signalling me. Or perhaps it is an arbitrary decision. All I can say is that this tree is the one I sit with. Firstly, I stand facing them and enact the ‘connecting with winter trees’ poem gifted by an oak in Bala last autumn. This has become my main way of connecting with the trees in winter months as it offers the space to really breathe into them and because a tree gave it to me. I’m getting better at ignoring passers-by – I might look odd but what does it matter?
When I promised the trees I’d write every experience dreamed with them on this blog I wasn’t expecting to have much to share. Now I’m wondering if I should have bargained harder because things are happening that I’m really not sure how to explain, or that feel so ‘far out there’ I might sound mental, so I’m going to write them here as they happen without a filter, before I get the chance to remove the truth out of fear or cynicism:
When I reach the part of the poem where the imagination sinks through the earth to follow the golden roots of the tree I cannot do it. It is more difficult in very cold, icy weather, which this is, or sometimes a tree doesn’t want to connect with you and makes this clear, but still, I cannot see the roots at all. Instead all I can see is a black triangle where the root system should be, its base is at the base of the tree, the tip pointing down into the earth. I try to envisage the triangle as golden energy but this won’t work, which makes me wonder if the tree is ill? There is black oozing in rivers down parts of the tree’s trunk but I don’t think this bacterial flow would kill them as clearly branches have been removed to aid the healing process. But I am not an arborist or horticulturist.
The bright winter sun shines onto the citrine stone in my hand, double pointed to aid communication, and for the second time when holding it I get a pinch in the diaphragm/stomach/pancreas – just at the bottom of my ribcage, slightly to the right of centre.
(Later that day I will feel an intense discomfort in the descending colon unlike anything I’ve felt before. I wrack my brains but cannot think of anything eaten that day to cause this. I’m also reminded of the element of this project that is rooted in food and stomach and listening to a place through the intestines and wonder for the second time if it’s possible to swallow the energy of a stone.
I wonder how my stomach and intestines are connecting and listening to tree and stone and what this means and look forward to working with plant-person Mark Watson in late April so I can ask him all about this as I feel I should have eaten something from the place to aid this connection in the way he discusses with Norwegan artist Eva Bakkeslett but I have no idea what.)
Returning to the tree I focus on the bright winter sunlight flowing into the stone, funnelling up through my hand and body, then radiating out from my solar plexus towards the tree. As I do this I see a series of black tree roots protruding from the black triangle. I try again to imagine the base as gold, flowing out to the root tips but still cannot. This won’t work. It’s too… heavy. Instead I follow intuition and imagine the very tips of the roots fizzling with gold – this works, and I can see the gold life begin to fizzle inwards towards the triangle. I cannot change the triangle’s black colour but I can feel the difference the gold seeping along the roots is making.
Then I have a thought. There is a person I know who is ill. When I look at their mind I see it also as a dense black triangle whereas it should look like a tree’s root system. The tree tells me I could use a similar process with this person for comfort and perhaps to alleviate symptoms.
This is not something I can do.
How do I explain to a rational person that this is how I see the world? That an oak tree at Bute Park spoke to me through a shared waking dream and that something in the double pointed citrine stone I was carrying (and the bright sunlight) helped them to communicate a potential healing? That I see the illness in this person’s mind as a black triangle but with the sun radiating through a citrine stone and back out through my solar plexus I can reimagine the nerve endings in their brain (in the same way as the root tips) and that this might bring some brightness, some colour or energy back.
I decide this is a leap too far, and console myself with the fact that the agreement with the trees was to write everything here – I didn’t agree to do anything about what I found.