The Ninth Sabbat

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Today is Arbor Day. I think that I’ve said before that this should be the ninth Pagan festival on the Wheel of the Year. And, so, I’d be remiss if, while we are also celebrating National Poetry Month, I didn’t share this iconic poem by George P. Morris:

Woodman, Spare That Tree

WOODMAN, spare that tree!
Touch not a single bough!
In youth it sheltered me,
And I’ll protect it now.
’T was my forefather’s hand
That placed it near his cot;
There, woodman, let it stand,
Thy axe shall harm it not.

That old familiar tree,
Whose glory and renown
Are spread o’er land and sea—
And wouldst thou hew it down?
Woodman, forbear thy stroke!
Cut not its earth-bound ties;
Oh, spare that aged oak
Now towering to the skies!

When but an idle boy,
I sought its grateful shade;
In all their gushing joy
Here, too, my sisters played.
My mother kissed me here;
My father pressed my hand—
Forgive this foolish tear,
But let that old oak stand.

My heart-strings round thee cling,
Close as thy bark, old friend!
Here shall the wild-bird sing,
And still thy branches bend.
Old tree! the storm still brave!
And, woodman, leave the spot;
While I’ve a hand to save,
Thy axe shall harm it not.

Today, when trees the world over are threatened not by a single woodman but by huge, multinational corporations with chainsaws and bulldozers, the need to protect trees is stronger than ever. Whether they are ancient beyond belief, or fairly new, trees are treasures.

I pull a Tarot card every morning as part of my daily practice. Today’s card was, of course, The Tree.

Do you have a favorite tree? How do you celebrate Arbor Day? What tree would you plant if you could plant and grow whatever you liked?

Photo of the trees and bluebells in Virginia by the blogger. If you copy, please link back.

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3 responses to “The Ninth Sabbat

  1. Jane Gagle-Bennett

    Hecate – I do apologize for saying a nasty thing about you a week ago. I’ll not repeat it here, but I am sorry, and I should not have said it.

    Here is something I wrote on FB about my favorite tree which is the last tree my mother had planted.

    When the large fir in the front yard went down in a wind storm, my mother replaced it with a flowering crab. Someone who didn’t know her very well asked her why replace the tree – the implication being that my mother was an old lady who wouldn’t live much longer so wouldn’t see the new tree grow to maturity. I remember my mother saying that she wasn’t the only person who liked looking at trees. That flowering crab is on the verge of blooming today. She was insistent that it be the same variety of the one that the neighbor across the alley had because the blooms were a very bright fuchsia.She loved looking at that tree from the kitchen window so thought others would enjoy a tree like it in the front yard. So plant a tree!

  2. Jane, I love the story about your mom’s crab apple tree. I’m reminded of the old quote that a society flourishes when old people plant trees under whose branches and shade they never expect to sit. Flowering trees are especially lovely, aren’t they? 🙂

  3. Pingback: The Hermit in the Garden | dawnfallingleaf

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