Enchantment For A Few

by Edward Le Prieur

painting-wistmans-wood-dartmoor-85

“druids did not meet in stone temples or other constructions, but in sacred groves of trees”

As a child I would travel the expanse of dense forest near my home. Hunting or fishing with my father; I’m sure I irritated him with inquires of the name of each tree and bird. The one thing that prevails in my memory was the sense of awe and wonder at the sight of the trees reaching up to the sky, and away from me in every direction in what seemed a ceaseless plain of wilderness. Valleys, streams, cliffs and mountains; my mind filled with the wondrous things that could occupy each and every corner of the trail on and on.  Imagination left me on adventures of discovery and magic, now my heart is filled with nostalgia and wistfulness of that awe.

Those impressions never left me, and in my adolescence my heart then longing took me again to the forest. I spent many summer afternoons absorbing myself alone in the surroundings of my natural world, and I relished wholeheartedly in my wanderings. Never feeling again such peace in myself as I did then. Alas then night would come and I would have to return to my bed, and dream of that peace again. Before long my excursions became routine; so I began to camp out. I had a small tent and I would take a few provisions and some comforts. A notebook where I monitored the weather and the fauna, and some books for entertainment; novels and a field guide. The stream provided me water, the sun warmth, and the trees shade.

I never thought my time there introverted, or alienated from anything. Adjoined to my nature, never felt desolation once in my solitude. Never occurring to me that another my age would ever endeavor to seek the same dauntless burden of living in this place. However I didn’t see it as a task to be completed; an assignment with a firm limit. This was a place that had no absolute, and there was no end and no beginning. The only burden I felt was in returning to the world we built in the place of our ancestor’s realm; on top of or in place of the groves.

Indeed it should be no surprise to us that our ancestors found these places as sacred, and held highly mighty trees to preserve them in sites of worship to the gods. The Oak, Ash, and Hawthorne; the trees of gods and divine are common throughout all of European ancient religion. Revered and powerful many of these sites were razed by Christians, and few of these sites still stand as they did. I feel that the power is still there; aspiration dwells in me to rebuild on the ashes of the destruction of the past, and build up these sites again. Not through some garish re-construction of what television believes, but by preserving the natural home of our ancestors; thus the power and spirit.

Uphold this so that many after can feel that same awe that I felt as a child in the massive forest, the awe that our ancestors felt and that future generations will feel. Words in any language are insufficient to articulate that feeling…