Wednesday 16 July 2008

Celtic Imagination No 13: Re-enchantment of Nature

old man of the woods

When I first came upon this tree on Wenlock Edge I could not help but see a face in the bark; the pattern recognition software in my brain instantly detected the obvious 'eye' and 'nose'. I stood for a long time and simply enjoyed the sight and revelled in some imaginative whimsy as I recollected childhood storybooks with their anthropomorphic representations of plants and animals. Also here before me was the Green Man of Pagan spirituality, or even a Tolkein-esque Ent such as Treebeard. So I just stood and simply appreciated this magnificent tree with its literally wonder-full tangle of roots. And the more I looked the more I valued its being. And the more I valued its being the greater was my sense of biological and ecological interconnectedness and interdependence. The tree was no longer a potential table from Ikea or logs for the fire, it was not a thing to be used as we please; it was a living tree to be cherished simply for what it is, part of the beautiful web of life on our fragile planet. This was a moment of communion with the sacred. A glimpse of the re-enchantment of nature. A foretaste of a gentler way of living as part of our ecosystem, rather than against it. Just writing this brings to mind the heat of the summer's afternoon and the dappled light as I stood gazing at the tree. It brings back too the inner warmth of seeing a deep truth and of cradling its meaning for a moment. So I share it with you.


  1. ...and we need that connectedness if we are not going to submit to shrink wrapped Christianity but rather take our createdness seriously. Great picture and challenging thoughts

  2. That's absolutely right Sally. I do like your phrase 'shrink wrapped Christianity'; I much prefer Tony Jones use of 'Feral Christianity', as in 'back to the wild & untamed'! ! am pleased the image worked for you.