Walking with trees
In Walking with Trees, GLENNIE KINDRED takes us on an intimate and profoundly connecting walk with thirteen of the UK’s native trees. She leads us into their world and opens our hearts to their wonders, their perfection and their interconnectivity. Here she focuses on the otherworldly Alder.
Walking with trees is my delight, my meditation, and my anchor. A daily walk with the trees (not a dog!) helps to deepen my relationship with the natural world around me, and opens my heart, my lungs and my mind. If I give myself the time to stand still with them, their intrinsic tree-wisdom permeates my consciousness. I feel the presence of their deep roots filling the very ground beneath me, and become more aware of the Earth beneath my feet. I breathe more deeply and become more rooted, and more fully present. They help me to find my sense of inner stillness and this guides me to listen more closely to my intuition and the wild edges of my instinctive self. When I am walking with the trees beside me I see a bigger picture, and break free of my old conditioning that would have me believe that I am separate from Nature. With the trees beside me I am reminded of my deep interconnectivity with all life here on our beautiful complex Earth, and I am made whole.
Trees invite us to stand still a while, to soak up their company and share their embedded wisdom and intelligence. By observing their flowers and fruit, the way they grow, their habits and habitat preferences, we absorb and internalize their core characteristics. We also experience them at a subtle, emotional or vibrational level. Where our observations and subliminal experiences meet, a personality, archetype or signature picture emerges. This becomes our guide to a deeper understanding of the trees and what they have to teach us.
Common Alders (Alnus glutinosa) draw me to them at this time of year as their catkins begin to open and cast a red haze around the trees. Alders loves to grow in damp boggy places, such as wet woodland, marshes, and along rivers. As they reclaim these watery lands, they begin a process of transformation and new wild life moves in. Alders are ‘pioneer’ trees and transformation is at the heart of their signature picture. Although they are short lived, around sixty to seventy years, their lives count, as they can have a big impact on the land and the soil. They will move into ground that is too wet for most other trees, transforming the environment so that other trees and plants can follow. Look out for Alder trees when walking the land, as their presence could mean hidden water or boggy ground.
A lovely piece of woodland local to me is full of Alders, and has several springs running down into it. This makes it difficult to navigate for some of the year because of the excess water running through it. I imagine this was once just a marshy boggy place, and the Alders have been key to creating the mixed woodland we now know and love. It is rich with thriving ecosystems and a wealth of native flora and fauna. It is a testament to the power of Alder trees to transform a landscape.
A balanced fusion between our outer and inner modes of intelligence
opens us to new levels of awareness and capabilities.
We develop a quiet strength, and move into new levels of inclusiveness
and a deeper sensitivity and respect for all the interconnected life forms around us.
Wet swampy Alder woods or ‘carrs’ were thought to be places of mystery and otherworldliness. Alder’s were known in myth and legend as faerie trees and were protected from being cut down by their association with the Sidhe (Shee or Si in modern Irish). The feeling of otherness these trees evoke is part of their subliminal signature, reminding us to take note of the things we cannot see but can sense and feel, and the importance of what is happening below the surface, beneath our conscious and visual radar. This is our inherent ability to sense and know things. It is not a logical place, but inspirational and alive with instinctive truths. A balanced fusion between our outer and inner modes of intelligence opens us to new levels of awareness and capabilities. We develop a quiet strength, and move into new levels of inclusiveness and a deeper sensitivity and respect for all the interconnected life forms around us.
In legend, the Alder was known as ‘a battle-witch amongst trees’ and this makes it our ally in these changing times. A battle-witch to me is the eco-activist or eco-warrior, who knows how to work energetically to create change at a subtle level. Learning to work at an energetic level is the foundation of all healing work and transformational change. We can all direct focused positive thoughts and healing energy. All that is needed is the intention to do so and the ability to slow down our breathing and slip into a meditative state. We can all send healing, protection, and strength to where it is needed. We can put up energetic walls and conjure positive outcomes if we put our collective minds to it, and we can do this from wherever we are on the planet.
Alder wood becomes strong and durable when immersed in water and was used extensively for building bridges over water, thus linking communities together. Look for where you can build bridges and heal separation both in your local and in your broader communities. Be aware of where your thoughts or energy may be negative, blocked or stuck, and work to transform this. Reach out with kindness, cooperation, and generosity.
Look for ways to experience a sense of communion
and companionship with the natural world around you.
Our separation from Nature reinforces
our legacy of harm and destruction to the Earth.
It is time to change the stories we tell ourselves as we begin
to experience all life as sentient and interconnected.
‘Strengthening what lies beneath the surface’ is a key to Alder’s signature energy, and also a key to creating environmental change. Look beneath the surface for other ways to address our present ecological challenges. A shift in our thinking patterns creates changes that ripple through our lives and those around us. Look for ways to experience a sense of communion and companionship with the natural world around you. Our separation from Nature reinforces our legacy of harm and destruction to the Earth. It is time to change the stories we tell ourselves as we begin to experience all life as sentient and interconnected.
Look for aspects of your life where you are stuck in the old paradigm of seeing yourself as separate from the natural world around you.
Every day consciously affirm yourself as part of a great big beautiful inter-connected world.
Illustrations and extract from Walking with Trees by Glennie Kindred. Available to buy directly from www.glenniekindred.co.uk