While the drama was unfolding in Flanders, I was attending a wedding in Chaudfontaine, near Liège. The storm passed us by – literally: it raged on the other side of the wall from the small enclosed space in the Chateau des Thermes where we were engaged in sacred ceremony. I didn’t learn about the impact of the storm until the following morning. It was reading Ria’s post that I learned of the passing of the younger of our two walnut trees.
But I’d been busy with trees already on the day of the storm. Outside the chateau were some huge trees. An enormous plane tree called me to visit it. There’s no other way of saying it. It drew me toward it, as strongly as if it had been beckoning, seeking communion. So I went, put my hands on its trunk, allowed it to rebalance my aura, and just felt its life force within me. As I turned to leave it some 10 minutes later, I found a perfectly straight stick, with a knot half way up on one side, lying on the ground at my feet. I knew it was a gift to me – and I knew it was intended as a talking stick. On my last day at Chaudfontaine – the day after the storm – it was the copper beech that called me. And again, as I turned to leave it, there at my feet… another perfect talking stick, almost identical in shape. Spooky.
That was when it struck me: I had never entered into relationship with the individual trees on the land in Ransberg. Doh!!!
Today when I arrived in Ransberg, Ria dispatched me directly down to the orchard to commune with the walnut tree and find out what it wanted from us. It was astounding how clearly I could receive its communication. The question was: should we try to stand it back up again? It was so clearly still alive. But the answer was unequivocal. “My strongest root anchor is broken. I cannot stay upright any longer. I shall live long enough to deliver you my harvest of nuts. Then I want you to take me into the house. Let me live with you inside in forms you can use. Learn to fashion beautiful objects from even my smallest branches – spoons and statues that echo my forms.” It also occurred to me that this big, big being was dying, here on our land. And it was asking us to accompany it during its passing. “Think of me as I am dying. Come and visit me, lay your hands upon my trunk and open yourself up to commune with my life force. Let me teach you what I know about being a tree. Let me become part of your spirit and part of your life force so that my passing can serve the world.”
And so we shall.
And there was more to do. It seemed as if half the orchard’s apples were lying on the ground, and all must be processed if we weren’t to lose half the crop. With Geert and Katrin both visiting today, we found ourselves numerous enough to chop and juice the apples in a few hours of deep and pleasant conversation in the semi-tropical heat, with the old-time Flemish dance music wafting to us from the neighbours. Geert even legged up the ladder to fix the tiles on the workhouse roof. Thank God for tall and fearless men!