Mary Oliver

It’s not just another day

In an earlier post, on a Suffolk walk, I mentioned my ingratitude for not fully appreciating the gift of a beautiful morning. In many ways we find ourselves in a time where the certainties of established religions have less of a hold on us, and yet so many of us still perceive (almost like a fragrance that we can’t name) a call to the spiritual. That call provides us with a moral compass of sorts, but also has a bias towards beauty and truth.

The beauty of trees

A woodland with shafts of light falling though the trees.

For as long as humans have walked the earth, trees have been our companions. They have sheltered and sustained us, provided food of themselves and for the animals we preyed upon. It’s no wonder that they have become so entwined in our imagination, and seem to reach out to all our senses; attracting us not only by their latticed beauty but also with their smell, sound and surprisingly their touch (who hasn’t run their hand along the bark of a tree or marvelled over the smoothness of a Horse Chestnut)?

Trees are sometimes a source of fear, not in themselves, but by creating the dark forest that can hide our enemies. They rustle, they crack, they groan. Conversely they offer shelter and shade and life giving oxygen. They are beautiful, inspiring and practical. We hug trees, we play on trees, we destroy them, worship and adore them. We hang people from their branches, burn them for warmth, we make them into tables and whatever else we can imagine. But, despite their utility and beauty (or possibly because of it), trees remain humankind’s conscience and solemn witness.

And I would like to be simple and devout, like the oak tree.