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  • Anne W

The Rowan Tree

Wandering around the garden this morning taking some photographs, I am reminded of how many little things I brought from Northern Ireland when I came to live here 13 years ago.

Among these is “the rowan tree” which now stands at about 10 ft tall and currently hosts clusters of cream flowers which will eventually turn into red berries for the birds to feed on. This tree came with me as a small stick like sapling in a pot, grown from a fallen berry dropped by the rowan in my fathers garden in County Down. It is all the more special because it is a little piece of home.

Of course it’s magical powers are well known in Ireland and a story teller once told me how the rowan was planted at the crossroads to keep away the evil spirits. It is Hebe, daughter of Zeus and Hera that is attributed with the form the Rowan takes. According to mythology, Hebe was the cup-bearer to the gods and she would bring them their potions to refresh and sustain them. One day the cup was stolen by demons and the gods being outraged, summoned an eagle of great strength and might to find it and bring it back.

A mighty battle ensued between the eagle and the demons. Blood was shed and for every drop of blood spilled, a red berry formed from which grew a rowan tree. If you look closely at the feathery leaves you’ll see the mighty eagles plumage!

Watching this tree grow and blossom over the last 13 years has been a joy to me and when finally the blackbirds arrive to gorge on the red berries and the leaves turn golden brown and drop, I know the Mother Tree is doing just the same thing back home in Co Down.

It is often said that “home is where the heart is” and standing beneath my rowan tree in Week 5 of the Covid19 lockdown, I am reminded that this once tiny red berry is part of my home and heart. As Kahlil Gibran wrote in The Prophet, “For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed”.

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