Tuesday, 3 May 2016


8pm yesterday evening - sunshine and flowers!

I negotiated to take Bank Holiday Monday as a holiday (the irony of that statement does not escape me).  It was not quite as peaceful as I had hoped, as two gardeners were chain-sawing the trees that mark the boundary between me and my nearest neighbour.  Years of neglect had led to them overhanging their garden to a dangerous degree, knocking slates off their roof every time the wind blows.
The result is dramatic... as the neighbour put it, it was like asking the barber for a trim and coming home with a buzz cut! 

Trees were on my mind all weekend.

When I was first planning to come here to be with my FL, he told me that he had found two intertwined trees in the wood and was going to carve our names on them, to celebrate our reunion.
I vividly remember him describing the exact position of the trees:  "3 trees in from the North East corner of the evergreens".
He sent me a map.
But inexplicably, we never visited that spot together.
I mentioned it a few times early on.. but then time passed and he became too unsteady on his feet to venture into the depths of the woods.
The whole point of this location is that it is difficult to reach on foot and impossible to reach by road.

This weekend, Hero and I went looking for the trees.
I have lost the map.
No, I don't understand that either.
But his directions were pretty clear.

When I first caught sight of this flaking bark, I was convinced it was a carving of names, a date and a heart.
But by the time I had secured the dog's lead and came back to look, eyes blurred by tears, and snagging my hat on the branches, I realised I was mistaken.
Was I even looking for an evergreen?

And then I turned round and saw this:

Everything about this pair of trees tells me that this is what he meant.
They are joined at the root, twist around each other, part, and come together again.
But there is no carving.
You can see a rubbed area of the bark, where perhaps the deer have scraped their antlers?
But no sign of our names.
Maybe they were never there.

It was a tough weekend.
I went and sat on the hill where his ashes are buried and had a good long cry.
Funny how it comes back to me in waves.

I found comfort in my knitting - the Always Amsterdam shawl is coming along beautifully and I should finish it this week.
And I shaped the heel on a second sock.

But my most meaningful stitching of the weekend was invested in this cushion:

The printed panel came from Bella Stitchery Designs on Etsy.
The painterly background cushion cover was on sale at Asda - and I can't get over how well the two blended together!
I sewed a tiny cameo button onto his braces (suspenders), and added some shiksa mirrors for a bit of 3D bling.
It's for when I need a hug.


  1. Sunshine and showers seems to sum it all up. Hugs.

  2. Thinking of you. And loving the cushion!

  3. Its those moments when the storms sweep in and flood your small boat, and then pass and leave us adrift for a while. Take care of yourself. Hugs.

  4. Beautiful trees - they must have grown quite a bit since your FL carved your names in them.
    The cushion is ace. And it's lovely to see a pic of Hero out in his woods.
    Take care Ms Roo. You are doing so well.
    Thank you for letting us share a bit in your world.

  5. Beautiful hug cushion. Have a virtual one too. {{{hug}}}

  6. A wise friend who has buried 2 husbands and an old friend who became a partner much later in life tells me that it will likely hit in waves, but that those waves will gradually get further apart over time. She also reminds me that whatever I feel and however, it's right. And finally that I must be gentle on myself. In an uncharted world I've found her thoughts useful. I love the tree and the story around it. Take good care of you.

  7. big hugs Roo! xx I would still like to meet up if you want to. I am sure we both know the same people through knitting. Your shout....I will understand if you don't want to either and so no pressure. much love x

  8. "Two Trees" by Don Paterson

    One morning, Don Miguel got out of bed
    with one idea rooted in his head:
    to graft his orange to his lemon tree.
    It took him the whole day to work them free,
    lay open their sides and lash them tight.
    For twelve months, from the shame or from the fright
    they put forth nothing; but one day there appeared
    two lights in the dark leaves. Over the years
    the limbs would get themselves so tangled up
    each bough looked like it gave a double crop,
    and not one kid in the village didn't know
    the magic tree in Don Miguel's patio.

    The man who bought the house had had no dream
    so who can say what dark malicious whim
    led him to take his axe and split the bole
    along its fused seam, then dig two holes.
    And no, they did not die from solitude;
    nor did their branches bear a sterile fruit;
    nor did their unhealed flanks weep every spring
    for those four yards that lost them everything,
    as each strained on its shackled root to face
    the other's empty, intricate embrace.
    They were trees, and trees don't weep or ache or shout.
    And trees are all this poem is about.

    1. Lucy - this poem is perfect. Thanks so much 😊

    2. A friend read it at our wedding but it could have been written for you and FL!

  9. Oh I think your names are there. 12 years is a lot of growth and they are probably too high to see, or maybe the bark grew over, but, to go to the trouble to explain and draw a map, I think they're there. Even if they were not, he chose those trees to symbolize both of you and your love for each other and wanted you to see what he saw.

  10. They were there in his heart, if not on the tree! Hugs and prayers from the US!

  11. Dear Roo... I have been out of touch with you and a few others as I dealt with some personal issues and was sad to read of FL's departure and the changes it meant for you. But you are such a resilient woman, basically hopeful as this posting shows, that I am certain as time progresses, you will find a new and happy path through the woods of your life. Big hugs from far away, Sandy