Sweet Chestnuts of Roslin

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Deep in the old woods of Roslin Valley there live two very ancient tree ents. In the green shaded light of the summer woods you can make out their limbs and faces, which have grown here for over 400 years. In fact they have stood here for so long that time has gathered in a shadowy mist around its branches, pausing time and place. A deep velvet hush hangs over the hollow and everything present holds its breath afraid to wake the dozing giants, descendants of Roman immigrants 2,000 years ago.

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If you venture close enough, you can look up into the branches where antlered wooden deer run free through the field of leaves. With their horned heads held high they keep watch over the paths leading to the old tree creatures body. Among the moonlight these deer hide from Odins Wild Hunt, as they have since time began. All is kept safe within these wise wooden arms and warm wooden heart.

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If you dare to look a little closer you might even see the shapes of sleeping dragon heads and snakes, all slumbering in the fruitful branches. These arms will soon bear fruit, and sweet chestnuts will tumble freely to earth, yearly gifts from the ent to the world. Food as old as time for squirrels, wild pigs and people alike falls along with twisted wood. Sometimes arms reach down to touch the earth as though they long to feel its cool presence after too long an absence.

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This tree has been resting for so long that ferns are growing in its high hollows, as though it was an extension of the earth. Who knows what else is hiding in its shadows and bark, calling this ancient tree home, and looking out across the valley. There are so many hidden eyes and ears in the leafy dell that a deep and lasting feeling of being watched will soak into your bones. Your mind will be brushed by the presence of this wooden giant, and all else will flee from your mind. Fear or joy, one of the two will flood your head and your heart, and you will know if the ent has accepted your being in his sleepy hollow. Leave quickly and quietly if you need to, or rest a while soaking in the gathered wisdom of this timeless place, knowing that you have slipped between the cracks in reality.

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Remember to thank him before you leave, returning the hollow valley to silence and eternity.

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About greenmackenzie

Hi, I'm Seonaid, and I share my home with my husband, my son and a collection of cats and dogs. I am forever snapping shots of things which catch my eye. I love art which is here now and gone tomorrow...like food and nature...but also have a passion for vintage and the ancient past! Nature is my favourite muse, with her wild ever shifting seasons. I have been using and teaching mindfulness and relaxation for over 12 years, and have yet to become any sort of expert :-) I'm a Psychotherapist, and run the Maggies Highlands Cancer Centre, in Inverness, Scotland.
This entry was posted in ancient sites, elemental, mindfulness, nature photo, photos, spiritual and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Sweet Chestnuts of Roslin

  1. Have you returned to collect the chestnuts this autumn? I’ve written a post here all about collecting wild chestnuts 🙂 http://procrastacreation.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/chestnutting/

  2. Peter S says:

    I found an American Chestnut while hiking this weekend and put up a couple of photos of it as a comparison, with a link back to your post as well. (Hope that’s OK!) It’s a sad specimen in comparison to yours!

  3. Pingback: The American Chestnut | The Ad Dad

  4. adinparadise says:

    I love the sense of mystery created by your words and pics, Seonaid. In the centre of the second-last photo, I can clearly see the face of the tree. 🙂

  5. Suzanne says:

    What powerful trees. They look like sentinent guardians of the forest. How wonderful to be able to visit such a place.

  6. zark66 says:

    Wow!!!!! Wonderful tree and lovely photos! 🙂

  7. Gaye Abbott says:

    Reblogged this on BREATHING SPACES and commented:
    When you are next out in the woods you may come across some ancient ones. You know who they are for it almost feels as if they are telling you the secrets of the ages. As you breathe in the air around them images come to mind of lives long past and creatures still present – circling round, sniffing your presence as if to determine just what kind of being you are.

    It is the ancient ones that remind us of who we are in our fullest expression. That ask us to lay down our fears and breathe life into the creative impulse that quickens in us as it has in them for hundreds of years.

    Our aging faces and bodies look gladly upon these ancients before us for we recognize the lines, crevices, textures, twists and turns of life well lived – a breathing, pulsing and at times mysterious Source of life that speaks to the expanse of creative potential and interconnection.

    Next time you are in the woods remember to share a Breathing Space with the ancients, for they will hold you captive with their tales…… while giving and receiving the breath of life….

    Thank you to Breath of Green Air for this magical and beautiful post! Gaye

    • Thanks for the reblog Gaye, and what a great addition you’ve written to go with the photos and words. It’s a lovely invitation to share a breathing space with these ancient trees 🙂

  8. Gaye Abbott says:

    OH! I so love the ancient ones!! I am sending this post on to Tree Sisters (www.treesisters.org) and I know that they will love your pictures as well as you story telling of old. This series reminds me of when I did a project for college and took random pictures in a walk through a forest, also seeing magical creatures and breathing in the deep wisdom being handed out by my natural surroundings. Once home I printed them all out and put them face down on the floor and as I picked up the first one I started a story one paragraph at a time. Each picture continued the story until the end was reached. What a mysterious and magical journey that was! Thank you for sharing yours with us!! Sending LOVE!

    • That sounds like a wonderfully creative project Gaye. Old trees are just so inspiring, they have an atmosphere of wisdom and time beneath their branches 🙂
      Thanks for the compliment of the reblog.

  9. ladyfi says:

    How lovely and wise those trees look. I bet they could tell many a story! I pass a tree that dates back from Viking times on my to the station and always pause to salute it.

    • Quite right Fi, an appropriate response. Isn’t it incredible to think of all that these ancient wooden beings have seen and witnessed. Our lives are like a blink of their eye 🙂

  10. Hanna says:

    Remarkable trees and pictures
    All the best,
    Hanna

  11. Really really beautiful – I too love to photograph trees when we travel. Carina 🙂

    • Trees are such wonderful photography subjects aren’t they Carina. I’m so glad you liked the shots, it took me a while to figure out how to capture the character and atmosphere of this amazing tree.

  12. Brian says:

    Interesting thoughts. Thanks for sharing.
    http://thewannabesaint.wordpress.com/

  13. Olivia May says:

    What a tree, beautiful!

  14. I can see the face of my old Biology teacher – the appropriately named Boggy Marsh – a fitting end 🙂 Lovely post.

  15. Love the animal imagery, Seonaid. I shan’t look at trees int he same way again 😀

  16. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Nothing to fear, I always find Ents very welcoming and generous.

  17. How beautiful! Another tree hugger… 🙂

  18. Peter S says:

    What great photos! I wish we still had chestnuts here!

    • What happened to your Chestnuts?

      • Peter S says:

        Chestnut blight wiped out the trees here in the US. There are just a few isolated trees left. Saplings will grow for just a few years before dying.

        I grew up on a street lined with huge chestnut trees. By the time I was in High School they were all gone.

      • That’s so sad, what a horrible loss when almost a whole species is lost. I only hope my photos brought back some fond childhood memories. They are beautiful generous trees 🙂

  19. nodimlight says:

    WOW! An amazimg canopy of green and beautiful, ancient, gnarled wood! I could live there!

    • Wouldn’t it fabulous to live in a treehouse in a tree like this. In fact a treehouse full stop would be so amazing, but we probably wouldn’t be allowed to build here as its a scheduled ancient tree 🙂

  20. Stunning! The photos and the writing 🙂

  21. Magnificent photograph,
    Signed,
    Tree Hugger

  22. Brenda says:

    What lovely bends and twists, who knows what they’ve seen in their day. What lovers have lain beneath their branches, what shades haunt those deep shadows. I could look at your photos all day, Greenmackenzie!

    • Those are beautiful words which also fit perfectly with these photos. It is incredible to think of all the people who have hung around this tree in the past. I think trees pull the threads of time close together in one space.
      Please do feel free to look for as long as you like 🙂

      • Brenda says:

        My parents went to Israel, and stood under a tree that was over 2,000 years old, a sapling in the time of Christ. They told me about it and showed a picture. They believe Christ stood there, too, long ago. Only the tree knows for sure. 🙂

      • The Fortingall Yew in Perthshire, Scotland is said to be Europe’s oldest tree, at somewhere between 2,000 – 5,000 years. It’s has a wonderful atmosphere too, but isn’t tucked into beautiful woodland like these sweet chestnuts, it stands alone next to a much later church built on the sacred site of the ancient tree. It is incredible to think who might have walked beneath its branches 🙂

      • Brenda says:

        So many. Robert the Bruce? Some of my husband’s ancestors are Scottish…

  23. Lynne Ayers says:

    I was scrolling through the Reader and came to a beautiful photo of a tree, and a few words … and I knew it was you, Seonaid, even before scrolling further. Another beautifully woven story attached to a beautiful photo.

    • Lynne, how wonderful to think that you can recognise my posts in your reader. That’s a really lovely comment, and so encouraging that my weaving of words and images is enjoyable to read, as I love creating them 🙂

  24. theinnerzone says:

    Crisp, truly green – as always words are in perfect proportion to the breathtaking pictures.

    Every time I see a post by you, I tell myself that this is perfect, and then the next one arrives with a different, precise perfection of its own. I am awed every time.

    • Wow, what a great compliment, I hope I can continue to inspire awe with each post. It’s so heartwarming to hear how much you enjoy the words and the photos woven together into something which is very me 🙂

  25. This post is pure poetry. The photos, magical.

  26. Mjollnir says:

    Lovely stuff. Who doesn’t like an ent or two? 😀

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