I took this picture on 1 October this year. The subject is a willow tree I befriended many years ago as part of my Druid training. It lives in Bristol beside the Avon as the river begins to leave the city, passing through the Clifton gorge and under the suspension bridge. The path, here at the edge of a park, is also a cycle track and continues towards the Severn estuary beside the river. Although I no longer live in Bristol, I continue to visit the willow from time to time and renew the contact.
My strongest link with the tree was in early spring. where I got the most powerful sense of its pulse and vibration, felt especially whilst touching the trunk with the palms of my hands. But I was careful to follow it through a year of regular communion during which it lost a substantial branch to a violent storm. I learned to associate this tree with regeneration, resilience and generativity. The tree re-established its balance. The dead branch rotted gently in the ground, and contributed to other forms. Nothing was lost.
I’m about to go on a rare visit to my home town, partly to contemplate the continuities and discontinuities of my life and consider future directions. The image of the willow is with me.