It’s Spring. . .

Things are growing. Tulip shoots were pushing through the snow weeks ago in my garden, only to be buried again last week, but still they grow, determined, steadfast. No matter what goes on in the world, be it struggle or celebration, Spring in Canada comes; gently some years, hesitant and unsure in others, bold and brief in many. And during all such indecision, gardens are coming to life.
Gardening has long been listed as healing therapy for what ails us, our bare hands in the soil reaping the benefit from the microorganisms that live there. We are so fortunate to have the privilege of changing seasons, each with its purpose, its own strengths and lessons. I’m joyful I can walk the woods now without trudging through the snow, without burden. Spring gives me energy and hope, fuels my curiousity and heightens my attentiveness. I think we are all hungry to witness regrowth, to watch life wiggling from the earth, and to contemplate with eagerness the cotyledons stretching sunward. We have been held down by Winter, by snow, by virus, by fatigue and fear, by limits and rules, by loneliness and chaos, yet the soil has been busy nurturing and feeding so we can bear witness to life again.
I am in awe of the mighty Hemlock that I stroll beneath every day. This particular tree stretches high above all the surrounding trees and I rest against it sometimes, lay my cheek on its rugged bark and I listen, as though the tree might speak to me, share its vast wisdom of everything it has seen and knows. The Hemlock is considered by some to be a symbol of protecting and healing. Socrates gave Hemlock a bad name 2400 years ago, but the Hemlock is considered our wise elder, whose fine soft needles upon drooping bows give off an air of gentle elegance, the message to us to dance gracefully with change.
The Hemlock is a climax species, which means the seeds that fall from the parent tree can grow up in the shade of it, most often found in old growth forests. Its sweeping bows are not interfered with by ice and snow, but rather allows the snow and ice to flow easily off, while other trees are snapping and breaking. The Hemlock’s wisdom is to accept life’s challenges, I have read.
Whenever I stand beside my favourite giant, I feel a sense of well-being, as though at this tree’s height, it can see what lies ahead, what is coming, will stand guard so I need not worry. I breathe in its soothing scent and I feel protected. The trees can live on average for four or five hundred years, with the oldest Hemlock being recorded at one thousand years old.
My backyard has many Hemlock trees, two of which had to be taken down last year as they had died. I left the trunk at quite a height to invite pileated woodpeckers to visit, but I’m not sure my pileated friends received the message or perhaps they are too busy elsewhere with their percussion band engagements and commitments. As I wait for Spring’s full commitment, I’ll take shelter and rest under the mighty Hemlock.
wendistewart@live.ca

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