In the midst of an enchanted, crystal forest
lies my soul,
beneath a weeping willow
tree. ~ Monika Arnett
This afternoon, I find myself thinking of a Weeping Willow tree that I once knew. She made her home in the office garden of the place I used to work at, and subsequently found a home in my heart too. A beautiful old willow growing nowhere near any water. Yet still, she did her best to thrive where fate had laid her roots.
Sometimes during my lunch break, I’d sit near her and practice tree breathing. Giving thanks for her breath and offering my exhale back to her. The willow tree went to sleep during winter. She’d shed her leaves and droop her twigs in a sleepy and sombre demeanour, as willow’s do. She’d sway her bare wiry limbs wildly in the August winds. And when Spring came, her gentle and nurturing energy sprung back to life with new green leaves and a fresh aroma. I swear it was as if the willow was smiling and dealing bursts of childlike giggles when she re-emerged in the season of rebirth.
In The Healing Power of Trees, Sharlyn Hidalgo wrote:
“When you feel troubled, in emotional pain, or very angry, bring Willow’s energy in. She will hold you and allow you to accept your feelings so you can release them, and she will offer you comfort. Like Apple, Willow is a great mother.”
When I think of the way I felt in her presence, the way her leaves danced around me in the breeze and brushed against my skin. When I think of how one afternoon, when I was feeling particularly low, I stood next to her and she threw her thin branches over me, as if to wrap me in her embrace, I know there is truth to Hidalgo’s words. That willow tree was my medicine woman, pouring healing into me.
I often felt that this dear weeping willow’s life must have been hard. The soil she grew in was rocky, dry and she was in a dreary spot. She must have been dreaming of her brothers and sisters growing down by the river. Alas, she took the hand she was dealt in her stride, fulfilling her potential as best as she could and still shared her incredible love and beauty with whoever cared to look. That inspires me. I am grateful to have known this weeping willow.
Samhain blessings to the people in the South, and a (belated) happy Beltane to those of you in the North.
There’s a willow tree that stands by my river
She holds me in her arms when I am cold.
And we listen to the sounds
Of the pebbles on the ground,
And I know what it means to be old.
~ Douglas Wood