This morning a small band of us, monks and guests, trudged up the windswept hill side carrying all the necessary to plant a tree. People ask to plant trees in memory of a relative or friend, it’s a great way to establish a lasting and meaningful memorial, and at the same time help forest the land. We have quite a few memorial trees scattered around the property now.
When I first came here the priory, as it was then, was surrounded by fields and moor. We had a neighbours cows grazing in the area which is now the cemetery; we had cows in the fields above the main buildings. Now there are just rabbits grazing, thousands of them, and literally thousands of trees too. Over the years we’ve planted them, the majority surviving the wind and the rabbits. All the same each tree needs a tree guard and every one is staked for support against the gales. We work hard to keep the trees upright and alive.
Our guests favoured a more sheltered spot on the edge of the old hay field, now cropped close by the avaricious rabbits. There are wide views both up and across the valley from there. The rain held off. The hole was dug and the Rowan was eased in. Grown near Aberdeen they said, hardy tree stock from Scotland. Yes, hardy trees and hardy people too from up there. In no time that Rowan will become part of our developing windswept forest protected, while it establishes itself, by its larger and stronger neighbours.
All this mention of wind reminds me I had a major shift in attitude towards wind early this morning. Walking to the mediation hall in the early morning I realized the wind was actually going around and not through me. Seems such a simple thought however up to then I’d hunched myself mentally and physically, braced myself against the assault. The wind was in effect going through me. Now it is definitely going around me. No hunching or bracing, mentally or physically, from now on.
As I write the rain is at the window. I’ll be taking another look at my attitude towards that too.