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Saturday, 12 March 2011

Alder... Catkins, Cycles & Continuity




The alder, like the hazel produce male catkin flowers... very similar at first glance, but last years female flowers that have developed into cones give the game away. The catkins began growing last summer and over winter they paused, tightly closed as they waited for spring....


And they are so worth the wait.... this, i think is one of my favourite photos... in good old morning sunlight again. They have a reddish tinge to them and they are bursting out all over the alder trees right now. They are at so many different stages across a single tree, spreading the fertile season for a couple of months.


A beautiful mass of catkins dancing & shaking their fertility dance... young lads strutting their stuff in front of the ladies... both last years cones & the tender new buds of femininity share the same branches as the cycle of new life continually revolves... the spiral of flowers down the catkins & the ridges of the cones echoing the continuity of all life...


See those younger sisters... small red cone like flowers. I always feel that the alder is a representative of balance & continuity... symbolic of god and goddess in harmony, male and female visible all year round at various stages of their cycle. Right now there are two generations of the female flower.... later the mature female cones will drop & next generation of male flowers will begin to grow before the last of their brothers have fallen, whilst the fertilised females will continue to swell & develop... a continual cycle of new life & re-generation....


Seeds have already been fluttering from the cones and will do so til long after the last cone has dropped... the seeds will be carried by wind and water, the alder being well suited to watery and marshy landscapes. The wood is very durable in water, but less so out of it... much of Venice stands on posts made of alder, but an alder fence on dry land won't last at all. It's leaves however decompose quickly in rivers to provide valuable nutrients...


I particularly love this picture too... capturing the smouldering fire energy that is associated with alder... yes fire, for it's ability to fix nitrogen from the water in which it thrives and breath life into poor quality soil... passing on it's essence of continual life in earth wherever it grows... an alchemical fusion of all the elements blessing the land for those that come after it... a tree of life indeed.


This photo is from this week last year... our harsh winter has slowed things down a touch, but the catkins will rapidly lengthen and the leaf buds will soon catch up! I sat nestled into the base of one of these inspiring trees the other day and asked if it had any message for me... the answer? "just look around..." I smiled... and didn't have to look far. One of my first posts was about sitting under an alder and i remember it so clearly... mmm a truly special tree.

The Festival of Trees for april will be about Celebrations & Festivals.... why not head over & offer a contribution?

"This month we invite you to share the news about tree festivals, Arbor Day tree plantings, and other celebrations of trees and forests. Tree-lighting ceremonies, chain-saw competitions, logging shows, wood crafts, tree-planting events, and giddy woodland frolics are all welcome for a complimentary booth at the Festival of the Trees 58."

4 comments:

yvette said...

good for reumatic pains too...what beautiful pics!

Tammie Lee said...

lovely photos of the beauties.

crystaltrulove said...

Thank you for taking the patient time to put all this together for us in one beautiful post. Your photos are wonderful, and I loved being able to sense your awe and appreciation of the trees.

Jean Stimmell said...

Thank you, Suzi,
I had a spiritual experience, connecting to the mystery of the winter alder cones hanging over my lake. Then I was able to complete the circle by discovering your blog which I wrote about at http://jeanstimmell.blogspot.com/2012/01/my-aldered-experience.html
Thank you again. Your work is educational, artistic, and profoundly spiritual.
Jean

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