By Bernie Bell
We went to Cottascarth RSPB Reserve and stood under the sycamore tree. We didn’t touch it, just stood under its boughs. The leaves and smaller branches were thrashing about in a strong wind, but the main trunk just stood there – solid, un-moving, un-disturbed by the tumult around it.
We’ve both been finding it hard to deal with the tumult, the madness, surrounding us. Our visit to Cottascarth was balm to the soul.
It a good place to see birds and plants and to look to the gentle hills around you. And …..to stand under the tree.
The next morning I realised how much being in the aura of that tree had done me good, had calmed me and helped me when I needed re-assurance.
The solid trunk, and the wildly waving leaves and keys. At the back of the tree there is a sweep of smaller branches coming down to meet the earth, covered in keys – each one a little germ of life – a potential sycamore tree.
I have a plan. We’ll go there again when the keys are ripe. I’ll bring one home, pot it up, nurture it and when it’s big enough, plant it out among the other little trees in our garden.
It’ll take a long time to come to anything – probably longer than I’ll be here to see it, but it will be a scion of the Cottascarth sycamore and possibly bring with it some of the steadfastness of that fine trunk among the thrashing branches.
I sent this piece of writing to Andrew Appleby – President of the John Rae Society – who responded with an enigmatic message saying that John Rae (Arctic Explorer) knew that tree. I said do tell…and…..