If you follow me on Instagram, you will notice I post a great deal about trees, especially right now.
I have always had a love for trees. I have no recollection of when I first fell in love with them. but I remember many a time spent outdoors, old blankets stretched out on the lawn, staring up at the sky between branches. One of my childhood homes in California had an olive tree that had the most perfect place to perch, if you climbed it just right. I often would sit there for a bit, reading or writing or even sketching. Of course, I fought with my siblings for the seat sometimes.
I always think of Anne Shirley, the heroine of L. M. Montgomery’s tales, when I think of my own love of trees. In one of the books, Anne’s House of Dreams, upon hearing her fiance, Gilbert tell her about the house he’s rented for their first home and the tress that surround it:
“Oh, I’m so glad! I couldn’t live where there were no trees– something vital in me would starve.”
There is something about the way naked branches of the many deciduous trees look against the sky. They remind me of fingers reaching towards the heavens in prayer. They remind me of the way the bronchioles stretch in the lungs. They are magical. They are mystical. And I know they were created that way by design.
Even evergreens look beautiful, especially against the background of a sunrise, their branches black against splashes of color, every gap in the branches visible. And when the clouds and the rays of the sun peek out behind any of the trees, it’s just indescribable for this wordsmith to even try to write about. There’s a sheer beauty that just can’t be put to words.
I still try to capture it regardless.
Each tree has a magnificence all of its own, whether they are oaks, elms, aspens, firs, pines, or maples. The way the branches arched twisted by the wind and forces of nature. The way they sway in breezes and bend to the force of tornadoes. They hide the nest of birds in the summertime, and in the winter, eagles perch on limbs as they watch the river for food. Hawks fly above them, circling the branches as they look for squirrels or rabbits or smaller birds to feast upon.
In the darkness the trees look ominous, especially against the cloudy sky in the midst of an early spring. They stretched their branches up like long fingers reaching to grasp the darkness. They are eerie. They are foreboding. They make me think something is out there, something beyond my wildest imaginations, even though I know it’s nothing more than a tree in the darkness. But there is magic there nevertheless.
Trees are featured a great deal in my books. A tree is prominent in Manda’s quest to find her way back to Delphian in The Keeper of the Key. I have created the Glen of the Maples and the Oak of Spirit in Portal Seeker and the Tree of Life in The Last Druid. Sprites live in them, as does the Bearer of Spirit and possibly some fairies and other magical creatures. And of course, Rhadamanthys the druid protects one of them…… Don’t have a clue what I am talking about? You may need to read my stories.
I write about them a lot, but that’s because they are prominent in my own life. I watch the maples, elms and oaks in my little swath of the Midwest change from year to year. The leaves currently are budding around this time of year, tiny and small. But soon the fresh new greens will be there on the tress outside my little abode. Around town, the fruit trees and other trees that flower will be glorious with blooms of pinks, whites and other vernal hues. In the summer, they rustle with the breeze, full of verdant green and almost groaning from the weight of their full foliage. In the fall, they begin to change, turning from that viridescent vibrancy to autumnal colors, awash with reds and browns, oranges and yellows in so many shades that one’s eyes can take in. And of course, in the winter, their nakedness appears stark and lonely against the snowy background and dead browns of the landscape.
Some of my fondest moments have been spent on various fallen logs with friends and family during hikes, talking about things and life in general.
Like Anne Shirley Blythe, I could not live anywhere where I had no trees to view. I could not live where I could not view the magic that creates them. And I could not continue to write my story without their inspiration to keep reaching high to where I too want to be.
Continue to write your own stories. Find the magic in something, even if it’s not a tree.
If you liked this blog post and wanted to see some of the fantasy works I have written, check out my Portals Series.
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And as always, #writeyourownstory