The White Leaved Oak
After walking for hours over the Malvern Hills and sliding down countless muddy trails, I finally found the White Leaved Oak.
Last autumn, I was following a documentary series about ancient trees in Europe and there was something about the White Leaved Oak that grabbed my attention and followed with me all throughout the dark winter months in Sweden where I live. When I decided to travel to the UK this year, I decided that I had to go visit the famous oak tree in Malvern.
The White Leaved Oak is a most cherished tree, dressed in a cloak of abundance like a magical Oak King. From a distance, you can see the colourful ribbons and trinkets hanging from his branches. Kneeling before him, I marvelled at every twist and turn, every knot and knobble, and every gift to be found among his many secret hollows. All sorts of treasures can be found hanging from his branches, hidden under roots and nestled in the clutches of his gnarled trunk. He even has its own visitor’s book full to the brim with poems, greetings and blessings.
Leaning against the old trunk with the visitor’s book in my lap, I smiled at the happy realization that despite all the madness of the world, people still have a love for old trees such as White Leaved Oak.
Walking home was yet another long walk. After walking for over three hours, I finally arrived at the village Guarlford where I am staying in the early evening, completely exhausted, but full of joy.
Finding the White Leaved Oak was an adventure and there is something about going on adventures, no matter how big or small, that invokes my inner child. The oak tree had been on my mind for so long, actually being there felt like meeting a character from a favourite fairy-tale!
A few days ago, I returned to White Leaved Oak for another visit and spent half the day there. Trees are like people, it takes time to get to know them. When you spend time with a tree and really open your senses, it may speak to you in one way or another. White Leaved Oak gave me a song that I will always carry with me to sing and remember.
Thank you White Leaved Oak. It has been an honour to meet you and sing your songs. And thank you for leading me to Malvern! Here I have found some wonderful new friends and storytelling connections. Would have loved to stay longer but now the road beckons...
Update: White Leaved Oak was destroyed in a fire in 2020. Rest in peace, dear friend. You will forever live on in our memories, songs and stories.