Golden Treasure

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Deep in the ancient Hazel woods, lies a dark pool of water, fringed with golden tassels. Swaying slightly in the soft winter air, they glow brightly against the deep blue waters below. Hidden beneath the surface of the water the sacred salmon swim, teasing us with glittering scales from the watery other world below.

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The hazel tassels ripple in the slight breeze, golden flags sent as a promise of the sun filled days to come. A signal of the truce drawn between winter and her short cold days, and the warm long days of summer which wait in the wings for their cue. Joyful to behold after the grey cloth of winter, this is priceless gold, lifting the spirits and filling us with hope.

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True treasures of nature, these gold filled catkins will yield crops of sweet nuts, when summer dares to a close on the other side of the year. For now they dress the hazel trees in splendid cloth of gold, as regal as anything woven by man on a loom. Their brightness against the clear winter sky, a welcome surprise, transforming this secluded pool into a wonder of the woods. I can see the lingering breath of the delighted wood spirit who splashed this yellow paint with wild abandon and a wide smile. It’s contagious and I can almost believe that summer has arrived, until a chill wind bites me through my thick coat and woollen hat. Winter lives on but these golden treasures hold the promise of warmth, as they have for millions of years. Our ancestors were teased and inspired by the same golden tassels of the wild hazel woods in winter, and would return for the sacred nuts of wisdom when the seasons turned.

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Find lots more treasures at the weekly photo challenge.

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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 history, Celtic, elemental, mindfulness, mythology, nature photo, photos, spiritual, weekly photo challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Golden Treasure

  1. This tree really gives you a summer feeling!! Nice post.

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  5. Leya says:

    Now you taught me a new word again, Seonaid – catkins! A golden word for golden hazel – in Sweden we only call them “hängen”. Which refers to something hanging down – we use the same word for earrings that is hanging down with “drops” in them.

    Spell binding post and enigmatic photography! I’m thrilled you already have those Spring heralds in Scotland!

    • It’s to it lovely to find new words, and catkins is such a fun word, full of the joy of early spring 🙂
      Thank you for teaching me a new word in return, hangen seems as though it must be the root for our word hanging….and you know these golden catkins would make beautiful hanging (drop) earrings!
      And such wonderful compliments on my weaving of words and images 🙂

  6. Marvelously evocative! Thank you!

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  8. LB says:

    I’ve never seen these before, that I remember. The color is lovely, especially in that last one against the blue sky/

    • Hazel catkins, they’re only around for a short while so might be easy to miss….or perhaps there are no hazel trees where you are?
      For me they are like little flags of summer sun, daring to show themselves on the very edge of spring 🙂

  9. They are exceptionally good this year aren’t they? And this: ” I can see the lingering breath of the delighted wood spirit who splashed this yellow paint with wild abandon and a wide smile. It’s contagious and I can almost believe that summer has arrived, until a chill wind bites me……..” has to be one of the most pleasing lines I have read for quite a while! That wonderful wood spirit is alive for me!

  10. ladyfi says:

    So golden and spring-like! Just gorgeous!

  11. Lynne Ayers says:

    Another beautiful piece, Seonaid. I’m waiting for your book – with such beautiful and descriptive prose you will weave a beautiful tale set in your Scottish landscape filled with the magic of wood nymphs and faeries and ancient legends. 🙂 Let me know when you publish.

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  13. icelandpenny says:

    Oh, so lovely. Thanks for a glimpse of spring, even if far-away

  14. Tina Schell says:

    Hah, hadn’t ever heard of these but they’re beautiful! A lovely serenade to spring Seonaid. Happy to join you in our temperate climate as the north and west of the US suffer through many more weeks of cold, horrid weather!

  15. colonialist says:

    Spectacular. I don’t think I’ve ever seen those other than in pictures. Maybe they don’t like it here.

  16. Lucid Gypsy says:

    For a moment I thought you didn’t actually call them catkins. Aren’t they just wonderful? I’ve loved them since I was a tiny girl!

  17. Suzanne says:

    How lovely. The golden hazel catkins blooming in late winter are like the golden wattle that blooms in late winter here in Australia. Nature’s reminder that the golden days of summer aren’t all that far away perhaps. As always, your photos and words are quite magical.

    • It’s always lovely to get such great comments Suzanne, I’m delighted that you find my work magical….if I had to pick an adjective to describe what I’m striving for, that would be it 🙂
      The golden wattle sounds like another wonderful marker of the turning planet.

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  20. Golden treasure, indeed, and with a bonus of hazel nuts. These pictures make my heart sing with joy and beauty. Thank you.

  21. Colline says:

    They certainly are beautiful.

  22. This provides a nice contrast to our current winter conditions. Thanks for the infusion of warmth and softness. D

    • I think we have been very lucky up in Scotland this winter, it’s been mild and quite bright. I hope your hard winter begins to soften soon, and I’m glad you enjoyed the golden catkins 🙂

  23. My Thoughts haven’t changed !!!

    Brought memories back, when I was a youngster waking with my dad with his Springer Spaniel:)
    seeing the same trees.

    I just saved several, in my picture folder plus many more of u’re photos and what I call
    “Poes and Poetry”

    The weather hear on this side of the ocean and been frigged and continues Snow 😦

    Anthony

    Pax

    • It seems spring catkins bring back many childhood memories. I’m so pleased that you enjoy the photos and words enough to save them, I hope your winter begins to soften soon. For us it has been an unusually mild winter, but we have just a sprinkle of snow 🙂

  24. Those golden catkins so remind me of long country walks, when my sister and I were growing up in England. I love them, and they are perfect for your ‘Treasure’ post. I love the idea of the long summer days waiting in the wings for their cue to appear on stage. 🙂

  25. restlessjo says:

    This is lovely, Seonaid! I never associate the catkins with hazel nuts but you’ve painted this canvas almost as beautifully as nature herself 🙂

    • Thank you Jo, glad you enjoyed the treasure filled post!
      I think that the nuts actually form on the branches where the female flowers sit….but you need the catkins to do their male jobs 🙂 if the nut trees don’t flower in late winter you get no autumn nuts!

  26. Wonderful! I had never heard of these golden treasures! Thanks for sharing!

  27. Sharon K. says:

    Beautiful, Mackenzie–both verse and visuals. 🙂

    We’ve three aspens in our garden and the time when those catkins appear, pale green and swaying in the spring breeze, is fleeting, but memorable.

    • Thanks Sharon, these little fleeting clues of the turning seasons are so easy to miss. I was delighted to stumble on them, and now I’m seeing them everywhere 🙂 Green Aspen catkins sound beautiful.

  28. Deena Kakaya says:

    Beautiful, I’m off for walk shortly and hope I stop and see what you are showing me x

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