The delicate and breath taking beauty of this earth is astonishing if you start to look with eyes and heart that truly see.
I was in the forest gathering Jelly ear mushrooms for a stew when my eyes were drawn to this dead Holly leaf.
I picked up this leaf and growing so delicately from its surface were tiny and ethereal mushrooms, so beautiful and gentle, growing from something so hard and spiky.
As I watched the mushrooms gently shift in the winter breeze I thought about how winter is such a time of quiet reflection, intimacy and dreaming and in these times I love wandering through the quietness of the trees, the blanket of grey skies and the twists and turns of the bare branches above my head, it’s on these wanderings that I just delight in finding such quiet gifts and treasures like these.
Life is all around me and magic is happening in this sleepy time. Compost is being made, rich earth is becoming more fertile and tiny seeds, bulbs and roots are dreaming themselves into being.
As I look up at the branches so bare with no berries, leaves, or blossom it reminds me of how my life can feel sometimes and it used to scare me before I realised that all beings need rest and quiet, all beings need to go inward and let go of what is no longer needed if they are to continue to grow. I know too that new life has always come through once more, the leaves and berries of possibilities and new beginnings will be abundant again and that the strongest roots grow in the deepest darkest places.
This leaf I found was shed from a Holly tree that had no need of it anymore and now no life runs through its veins and yet other life has found it to be the perfect place to grow. Eventually both will compost down into the dark rich earth and bring nourishment to the soil, plants and tiny creatures.
The Holly tree will develop new soft leaves in the spring perhaps even more powerful than before, and as the sap starts to rise the tree will grow stronger than before alongside Beech, Sycamore, Oak, Hawthorn, Ash, Elder and Hazel.
If we don’t learn these lessons that the trees so readily teach, if we keep holding on to that which no longer serves us do you think it will stop us from growing? Stop us from developing new branches and possibilities?
Sitting amongst these trees I feel I can hear the earth whispering and I feel it in my heart and it helps me to understand why I feel the way I do in the winter and it teaches me how to be and how to let go.
This is a time to dream, learn, cry and make compost all around you of what you no longer need, from this compost you can grow so beautifully once more, so strong and well.
Love your beautiful bones, your sacred blood and glowing skin.
Love your scars, love your chaos, your mess, your warts and your aches.
Love them and let them go, let them sink into the earth and may you find growth in those messy places, growth in the fear, the soft darkness and the mossy arms of the earth.
“It is not our job to remain whole.
We came to lose our leaves
Like the trees, and be born again,
Drawing up from the great roots.”