The White Leaved Oak Tree
After walking for hours over the Malvern Hills and sliding down countless muddy trails, I had 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 old oak tree that grabbed my attention and followed with me all throughout the dark winter months in Sweden. When I decided to travel to the UK this year, I knew that I had to go visit the White Leaved Oak in Malvern.
Even from far away, you can glimpse the colourful ribbons swaying from the oaks branches. Kneeling before the old tree, I marvelled at its size and character; every twist and turn, every knot and knobble, and every gift to be found among the trees many secret hollows.
The White Leaved Oak is a most cherished tree, dressed in a cloak of abundance like a magical Oak King. All sorts of treasures can be found hanging from his branches, hidden under secret roots and nestled in the clutches of his gnarled trunk. Letters, crystals, coins, photos and jewellery. He even has its own visitor’s books kept safe and dry in a plastic box, and 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 the White Leaved Oak.
Walking home was yet another long walk. Over three hours of walking down a countryside road among speeding cars, daffodils and cows. I arrived in the village of 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 brings my inner wild child spirit to life. The ancient oak tree had been on my mind for so long, so actually being there felt like meeting a character from a favourite fairy-tale!
How many adventures are waiting for us, just around the corner?
I can tell you this – I will never be too old for magic-tree-finding-adventures!
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, then the tree may speak to you in one way or another. White Leaved Oak gave me a song that I will always carry with me and sing to 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 me on to the Forest of Dean...