Go to the Trees!

I’ve mentioned before that one of my all time favourite movies is ”You’ve Got Mail”.

Whenever ‘bad’ things happen, I can hear Tom Hanks doing his ”Godfather” impression in the movie, telling Meg Ryan to ”go to the mattresses”. ”GO TO WAR! Use ruthless tactics, if you must! But fight fight fight!”

When I get off my mattress in the morning though, I go to the trees! πŸ˜‰ (and I am ruthless about focusing on positive self talk πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰ )

Somebody once told me that their peaceful place is a beach – the rolling waves and the cry of seagulls, the sand between their toes… it instantly calms them.
I smiled, because that isn’t my sedative πŸ˜‰ and told them, ”I’m a forest and waterfall, mountains kinda girl.”

Neither option is safe for me to run to for some solitude in my area. BUT there ARE trees!!!! And I always feel a sense of silent wonderment when I gaze upon them!

I am not a tree hugger in the sense of ‘campaigning for the environment’… but I have been known to hug a tree once or twice, ha ha ha!

And when things go wrong, as they so often do; and when I am feeling sad or angry or overwhelmed…
I go to the trees! Sometimes this means finding a place to pull over in my car where there is a tree, so that I can just look at it!
And most times I am amused when my brain reminds me : you’re feeling down, and now you’re looking up πŸ˜‰

I have no idea where this fascination or appreciation comes from – I do think it’s a culmination of many things, and people. But I do remember that as a child we had a large garden with big trees – some I would climb, and some I would hide behind. I’d use the large trunk to support my back, and read ”The Enchanted Wood” series. Hmmm, perhaps I have Enid Blyton to thank πŸ˜‰

And then there was the garden next door!
It was huge, and the side section was made up of a maze of pathways in amongst the lilies, daisies and clivias, and what to this little girl seemed like giant Weeping Willows!
The couple who lived there were grandparents – not mine – but they might as well have been, ha ha! I would often go there for tea – freshly baked scones with jam and cream, or whatever batch of homemade biscuits/cookies had just been baked! And then I would go and help Uncle Ian in the garden, while Aunty June rang my mother to let her know I was with them (because sometimes I just went there without seeking permission to! Ha ha!) Tea was always after the garden!
Uncle Ian knew how much I loved my Enchanted Wood books, and would let me drone on about the interesting characters, never once getting impatient with me!
And one day when I arrived unannounced, he told me he had known I was coming and he had a surprise for me. Looking back now as an adult, I am still filled with such fondness for that dear old man!

As we approached the Weeping Willows, he put his finger to his lips and whispered, ”You need to be very quiet. Maybe you will spot a fairy!” My eyes were suddenly the largest they had ever been, and they glistened with excitement as my lips made an excited oval! He smiled, and continued whispering, ”I think the fairies have come to live here because of you. Be careful where you step, because they have made little beds in places on the side of the path. Off you go now! I’ll wait here. They might run away if they see me!”
And he waited and watched as I tiptoed along the path, being extra careful where I put my feet, my eyes searching the area for fairy beds, and fairies!
The fairies were afraid of me, and stayed hidden… but oh! I found some of their little beds!!! Tufts of canopy foliage all bunched together – and some even slept with a small daisy as a pillow! (I grew up and realised he had made those little beds, especially for me! I think my heart did cartwheels the day I realised that!)

Inwardly, I squealed with delight upon every discovery – but I remembered what Uncle Ian had said about scaring the fairies, and so I would look back at him with a huge smile, my eyes dancing, and a finger to my lips, nodding that I understood. And he would be standing there, in the same spot under the shade of a tree, smiling back at me.
We had eight magical months of fairy seeking (despite my mother being extremely unhappy about it because he was filling my head with nonsense!) – and my imagination being what it was, I even caught a glimpse of a few fairies in that time πŸ˜‰ And then Uncle Ian got really sick, and a few days later he passed away.
I snuck back into the garden one day, without first seeking out Aunty June because I knew she was sad. I couldn’t find a single fairy bed, and I remember curling up on the path, staring up at the Weeping Willows, and weeping!
I wasn’t there for very long when Aunty June found me. (My mother had rung to say I was missing and Aunty June knew where I would be.)
Over tea and scones she explained to me that the fairies had gone with Uncle Ian, to look after him. And I actually remember that that made my heart happy!
I’m guessing Uncle Ian played a big part in my love for trees too!

Why all the tree ‘bark’ (talk)? πŸ˜›

I saw something on Facebook, and it actually made me cry! Thinking back on the last 40 plus years of my life, I identified with every single word of it! The ending was an epiphany of sorts!

Trees help me breathe! Not just because they produce oxygen! They truly stop me in my tracks… they force me to pause in their magical beauty… they remind me to BREATHE!

I don’t know what works for you…. I don’t know what it is that reminds you, in pain and sorrow and anger and confusion; in moments where you just want to give up…. TO BREATHE….

But my hope for every single one of you reading this is that in the coming days whatever that thing is, it will find its way to you somehow, in immense amounts, so that whatever you are facing, you will be able to remember to ‘just breathe’! ❀

Thomas River

Eight years ago, I worked for a payroll software company. Instead of having a ‘Christmas party’Β  at the end of the year, our boss decided to instead have an ‘extended weekend away’. Our boss paid for us, but we had to contribute for partners and children – which was entirely fair. (and we had to supply our own alcohol – the really funny part was that a whole trailer – similar to the one in the picture –Β  was used for this purpose! – and there were only 11 of us adults on the trip!)

VenterEliteRangeTrailer004-1

Photo credit : gccaravans.co.za

We stayed on a large farm – 9 of us in the main house, and the rest in a smaller second house on the property. A swimming pool and entertainment area separated the two houses. We had the run of the lot.

The place we stayed at is called ‘Thomas River‘. It was a time of lots of walking/hiking, riding horses for those who rode, visiting neighbouring farmers who opened their homes for us to have drinks on their patios, or just to appreciat the beauty of their lands.
Early evenings were spent at the pool table, competing against each other. Later in the evening, we’d all sit around the fireplace with our wine, and just wind down.
No cellphone signal. No television. It’s still hard to believe that we were only there for three nights and four days – we packed so much fun into our time there, it was amazing.

My favourite was the morning we spent in the historical village. I am not a person who is particularly fond of history – but this place? It had an eeriness to it, almost deserted – so rich in history that I couldn’t help but be taken in by it all!

My reason for telling you this is that I found some old photo’s that I took of our time there. So I thought I’d share them πŸ˜‰

The last one is a picture of me (my hair was dyed with a red tint those days) – it’s one of my favourite photo’s of me. We’d hiked to the neighbouring farm, where the children were given a chance to ride a pony. Everyone was sitting on the big porch and stone steps, sipping on Gin and Tonic’s. I don’t like gin, so I declined the offer. I propped myself up on the stone wall, and still took part in their conversations. I can even remember now how very relaxed and happy I was that day πŸ˜‰ (despite not sharing in Gin time πŸ˜› )

Enjoy the photo’s, (photo credits all me, but can’t remember who took the oneΒ of me) and stay well, my friends.

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