Recently a shared love of gnarly trees has sparked some interest between Mel, Siobhan and I. One of my half formed resolutions was to find the Twisted Tree within a nearby Country Park. Like a lot of things I would like to do, I hadn't quite got round to actually doing it. I promised Siobhan I would photograph it for her and post the pictures and made a mental note to go and hunt it down.
The comment grows into a conversation and the woman becomes friends with the other. They begin to talk more and more and the friendship grows quickly. The woman with life in her hair throws a twist of fate at the other, she is a witch and in a flash of remembering the second woman remembers that sometimes, she has called herself that to.
I had intended to go and find the tree today, or maybe to start on the silk painting, or maybe the poems, but then I had a call. I didn't answer it but even so I could feel my stomach fall. What were the chances of it being the agency with some job that would take me back into an office? It was and out of duty I rang them and was told the person I deal with wasn't available and would call back. I looked out of the window at the blue sky and settled myself at the tree to take down the decorations with a sigh.
The second woman reads more and more and starts back on her path and decides this time she will see where it goes and commit to following it where it leads. The internet brings information from around the world to her home and shows her the thoughts inside the heads of others. She eventually decides that she to, will start a blog.
I let the dogs out and hear the manic clacking of magpies. I count seven in the trees but they fly in and out of the evergreen leaves, maybe warning off a cat below maybe fighting over territory. Seven magpies... The secret that must not be told or the devil his own self? It occurs to me that witchcraft was the worship of the devil to the church, maybe the secret that must not be told is that of witchcraft? Something I will never know for sure but the idea makes me smile and sits in my head.
The blog starts to gather steam as more posts get written. Flicking through the blogs of others she comes across another blog from Canada where a lady has a mother statue and a fondness for Bast. Liking the tone of the photographs and finding the subject of the blog interesting she starts to follow it. There is a slight question in the back of her mind but she shan't ask it...
Three hours later and nothing. Do I call? No maybe not today, maybe tomorrow. Do I wait for her to call back knowing she might not? I settle by my laptop with a sigh and open my mail. I read Mel's blog on synchronicity and then I read her email. 'I find that when I'm all in a fog and a fuzz and bothered, going outside really does help. I know it sounds trite and formulaic, but a walk in the woods, in quest of your twisted tree may be exactly what you need right now. ' My energy starts to rise....
The third lady appears on the blog of the second with the comment that she has a second blog that may be of interest. A third witch found. Another friendship begun.
I dash out of the house knowing the park's car parks shut at dusk. I have a vague idea where the tree might be and I start to walk along the valley with the stream thinking that by the time I get to the main crossroads of the park, I will surely find it as this is the part of the park I know least well. I find many trees...
Blogs spread like chains around the world and lead to a fourth woman who captures beauty with her camera and enjoys a gnarly tree or two. A promise is made.
I find no twisted tree. I see a couple just before I reach the crossroads, as far as I had expected to go. They tell me that the tree is up the hill and along the top, taking me in a big circle nearly back to the car park. The sun is beginning to set and the valley is becoming dark and still but at the top of the hill there is a lovely glow that lights up the trees.
The first woman returns to the web after spending the festival season with her beloved and begins to read the second womans blog. It occurs to her that the second lady might make a good writer. She tells her and the second lady ponders this as she quests for the twisted tree.
I continue on as the waxing moon comes out, high in the sky. As I am beginning to despair of finding the tree and being able to make it back to my car in time, there it is. The twisted tree. Covered in the carvings of decades of people, this tree has obviously been deemed special by generations of people. I feel breathless in it's presence (or was it the hill?) and wish I could stay longer and ponder.