Although I’ve shared a deep connection with trees over the years I purposefully haven’t sought out the oldest or most famous trees when we’ve visited a place. Why? My reasoning was that it felt fake doing so. They’re not tourist attractions. Then, as usual, something happened to turn my perception on its head. I stumbled across a 400 year old oak in Slovenia this week, the oldest in this valley, and have visited a few times. Yesterday this tree showed me something: it is not about ticking the visits off an imagined list, but to come with deference, with an open heart, and to pay respects. If nature is my church then I owe fealty to the old trees. And the learning here is the importance of setting the right intention before acting. It’s good to wait & question, then wait again until the right path reveals herself. Now when visiting the old trees, I will fully understand the motivations in my heart instead of following a certain expectation like an automaton. I was also reminded of a poem written a few years ago that I performed for the Woodland Trust’s launch of their Tree Charter (I also have a poem carved into the 15ft oak pole sculpture you can find in Bute Park, Cardiff as part of this project). Yesterday I felt the urge to record a reading to this tree (link to audio here). The white noise in the background is the rainfall, it is a rough recording as it was pouring down! But I hope it captures something of this moment for you.