As I walk the lanes of Stone Down during this approach to Solstice, each step seems to stretch the daylight further into the night. It is a joy to walk in visibility at 10pm with the full moon ascending into the blue sky.
Along Well House Lane, The hedgerows have grown so tall and dense that the Tor disappears entirely behind them, appearing intermittently through gaps and gateways which provide sunny windows onto the mound and the inviting buttercup fields that reach up to the encirclement of trees who form a ring around the Tor’s bottom tier. It’s like peering into the theatre set of a never ending play, and I find myself slipping in and out of a fantasy in which I am lost in a labyrinth, at the centre of which lies a mystical mound. In one moment I am buried in the labyrinthian lanes, ushered between high green walls, before setting eyes upon the most mystical of scenes; the stone tower placed atop a hill of quite unique proportions, marking the centre of the maze, the prize to those who might venture further.
As the longest day approaches, most of the trees are now starting to ripen their fruits, nuts and seeds. Tiny acorns develop along spindly peduncles, bulging beech nuts and bunches of green ash keys dangle. Plates of hawthorn berries ready for a lick of red, and tiny horse chestnuts developing on their erect panicles. Elder is proudly displaying its blossom and the lindens, lead by Grandmother Lime, are just starting to pop open their delicate cream flowers, much to the frenzied joy of the bees and other pollinating insects.
On my evening rounds, I often make a slight detour to stop at an old oak tree I have come to know as, The Singing Oak. So named due to the numerous times I have been inspired to write while sitting beneath it. Two examples of recent collaborations are included in this article, a song (click this link for Bandcamp), written in dedication to this oak, and a poem written in collaboration, if not by the Singing oak itself.
The Singing Oak, besides being a welcoming friend with a low bough upon which I take rest, is a way-marker and foraging ground for badgers, a clear foraging route leads from the next field directly to the oak.
One evening this month, I encountered a badger proceeding along this path, approaching the tree quite merrily before realising there’s a Matt stood beneath it, then turning on its heels and scuttling back in the direction it came from, its hasteful exit only made visible by the fidgeting long grass on the flanks of its path.
It’s not the only sighting of furry friends this month, with a total of 5 badger encounters, and 3 fox cub sightings counted over the last 4 weeks, more than in the entire previous year put together. Perhaps they are getting used to my smell!
The hustle and bustle out in the countryside is matched by busyness in my own life. It’s been the most active month on on record for the To the Trees project, with walk bookings so numerous that I have barely had time to take private walks for myself, let alone to write about them.
I have lead a total of 12 walks for visitors to Glastonbury in the last 3 weeks, I am also currently planning walks in the Bishop’s Palace (2nd July – event link), preparing for the first woodland fire folk sing-around (16th June – event link) at Paddington Farm and organising walks for honeymoons, birthdays, spiritual retreats, as well as conducting numerous walks for visitors to Glastonbury. That’s not to mention the usual Glastonbury tree walks of which there will be two per month, Abbey tree walks. In addition, earlier in the month, I took part in the Tor Beacon lighting as part of the jubilee celebrations, pictured below, and managed to film a video to promote Glastonbury Abbey tree walks, with Peter Bluck of Play it Forward Media.
As much as I am tempted to waffle on, I will keep this article short and sweet, wish you all the Blessing of the Full Moon and forthcoming Summer Solstice, and leave you with a poem which was written in collaboration with the aforementioned Singing Oak tree, and to whom I dedicate to the newly Chaired bard of Glastonbury, Michelle Diaz.
Michelle conjured an epic performance at the town’s bardic trials in Late May. She truly had the whole room high on Awen. Michelle will take up the reins of this important community role for a year and a day before handing on to the next Bard of Glastonbury in May 2023, a tradition proudly upheld in Glastonbury, and chaired for this year by a very deserving and talented poet.
I AM A TREE
I am a tree
I see you
Like you see me
You hear me
And I hear thee
As you breathe
And I know
Like you know
I feel your heart wood
And further below
To the children you birth
Like the seeds we sow
One and one makes
And so we grow
And for this moment
We will stand
Both Heart to heart
And branch in hand
‘Til sap and blood
both tree and man
Upon the land
MW – 12/06/22
A Visual Diary – June 2022
Upcoming Tree Walks + Woodland Fires
Public Tree Walks, Glastonbury – By Donation
Sat 18th June – Summer Tree Walk, Glastonbury – 11am – 1pm
Sat 9th July – Summer Tree Walk, Glastonbury – 11am – 1pm
Sun 24th July – Summer Tree Walk, Glastonbury – 11am – 1pm
FB Event: https://fb.me/e/3qJNzk6yW
Book: 07548 936 081
Abbey Tree Walk & Talk
Note: Abbey Entry fee is not included
A gentle walk with tree ident and poetry.
Sat 16th July – 11am – 12.30pm – £10pp
Sat 19th Aug – 11am – 12.30pm – £10pp
FB Event: https://fb.me/e/2xu46bN2X
Book: 07548 936 081
Bishops Palace Walk, Wells
Gentle walk and talk with tree ident, songs, and poetry in the grounds of Bishop’s Palace.
Sat 2nd July – £14.50pp – 11am – 12.30pm
Sat 6th Aug – Bishop’s Palace Tree Walk – £14.50pp – 11am – 12.30pm
FB Event: https://fb.me/e/6NSYuOs9t
Woodland Fire Folk Sing-around
Paddington Farm Woodland – call Matt for directions.
Thu 16th Jun – 7.30pm – 10pm – by donation
Thu 30th Jun – 7.30pm – 10pm – by donation
Then every two weeks until September.
FB Event: https://fb.me/e/1AvqMUrhc
Book: 07548 936 081
Walks for individuals and groups, for birthdays, weddings, and as an add on to your retreat, at a date and time to suit you.
Call Matt to book: 07548 936 081
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