It’s been a while since I posted about the beautiful Hawthorns that I have been observing as part of the Tree of the Year project. They sit atop the Downs, relentlessly battered by wind and rain, and as a result they differ from many of the other Hawthorns in this area. With everything being early this year, most of the trees already had bright red berries at the beginning of August, not quite ready for harvest, but not far off. On these trees however, the berries were still small and green, reflecting how the harshness of their environment affects their development.
Nearly a month on they are reddening up nicely and the trees from a distance have that exquisite blush which tells you autumn is around the corner.
There is no doubt that the constant high winds we have had all summer have taken their toll. The trees look less healthy than this time last year with many of the leaves browning and some branches swept almost bare. Like people whose lives have been filled with hardship, they are weathered and worn.
It’s interesting to observe how bare of berries the side of the trees that faces the wind is compared to the relatively more sheltered branches.
I feel these trees teach me a lot about resilience, tenacity and strength and about adaptability in the face of hardship. They speak of the beauty of form and motion and of holding fast to this living edge of surrender. Perhaps most importantly they show that, in spite of difficulties, it is still possible to give generously.
Elsewhere on the Downs other Hawthorns tell their stories, each as unique as snowflakes.
I loved this one, entangled with the wild rose like lovers.
And everywhere the berries are fat and red and perfect. I’ll be out next week to get the first harvest in. Who wants pills when your medicine can look like this?
The Downs themselves are carpeted with wild flowers at present.
The yellows and whites of bedstraw, yarrow, burnet saxifrage and cat’s-ears mix with the mauves and purples of two of my favourite wild flowers;
Whilst lone stalks of agrimony wave in the breeze.