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  • Writer's pictureCrone


My trot took me to Harlesden Firs - a fairly regular haunt during COVID days but fairly infrequent since.

The morning ad started blue and bright but the rain came intermittently and it was cool, though not cold. Good conditions to be out. The Firs is far less boggy than the fields and there weren't too many people around.

I enjoyed running on the soft surface of fallen needles. I enjoyed the variety of trees! There are a lot of conifers, the clue's in the name, but also many birch trees, oaks and sweet chestnuts. Some beech and sycamore too. And maybe red oak and maple.

I hadn't had any recent tree conversations, so I was glad to feel called by this oak.

Quite noble, don't you think?

I sat down and let thoughts float through like clouds.

What I felt was that love and connection are psychic fertilisers. Organic, not synthetic ones!

I experienced the power of douceur, sweetness. In my mind I saw the soft eyes of the roe buck that entered the oak grove at home. And yet the sweetness, gentleness, tenderness, is not without its own resilience. I laughed as I seemed to be combining the same elements Gerard Manley Hopkins does for Christ: "as a stallion stalwart, very violet sweet". That was the sense of it entirely.

While sitting there I was thinking of something Nick Hunt considers in Outlandish - how the Abrahamic desert god of light has pushed aside the gods of the shadowy forest. But my gods are those shadow creatures. As soft as moss. As strong as heartwood.

As I sat there, I listened to the birds. Tits and thrushes; blackbirds and robins; wrens and dunnocks. Magpies, woodpeckers and crows. Something else I didn't recognise. All cognizant of me. And the tree too.

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Jan 16

I like how you talk of both the sweetness and the strength. And yes, a noble oak - the beauty of it, silhouetted against the sky!

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