White Pine and Hemlock

by Cindy on August 18, 2008

Sometimes scent can take us back in time–back to people, places and events left in a safe spot somewhere in the web of our minds and memories.

This morning, I was working with White Pine and Hemlock oils, and suddenly found myself having one of those experiences.

When I was kid, my father and I planted dozens of pine trees around the pond behind our house. We were trying to restore an area disrupted by bulldozers.

We planted primarily white pines, and then a few precious hemlocks. This was my first tree planting experience. I loved the process, and was so excited by the thought of a pond surrounded by pine trees. As time passed, year after year, the seedlings and I grew up together. I fell in love with the graceful beauty of the hemlocks and soft needles of the white pines. They gave me a place to reflect, to find shelter and comfort through the trials and tribulations of becoming.

My father and I took some of the extra white pines to my grandparent’s house, where we got back to work planting more trees! One special white pine by a tiny rock-formed pool in their backyard became my favorite tree. My grandmother called it Cindy’s Tree.

Decades earlier, she had stuck willow twigs in the bog behind her home. I called those now huge willows Grandma’s Trees.

Whenever I visited my grandparents, I visited my tree. The last walk I took with my grandmother was to that tree. It had grown to a massive height, and we stood there for a few long precious moments, arm and arm, in harmony with each other and the tree. After she passed on, I planted a fresh white pine in her backyard, in a space left barren by the passing of her old willows.

Trees have always had a special place in my heart. Since that first experience around the pond, I have carried on the tradition of planting pine trees at each of my homes. I love the calm, quiet and steadiness of pine trees. Their endless patience with the wind, rain, snow and ice storms, their gracious gifts of shade and scent, form, protection, privacy and pure natural majesty.

So there I was this morning, at work, pouring out the White Pine and Hemlock, and suddenly transported through time and space to my past, to a visit with my grandmother, my father, and with my long time friend, the white pine. It was such a gift.

So many trees and plants offer us such unique gifts–like presence, kindness and kinship–through their aromas. It is my true pleasure and good fortune to spend so much time with them, in all of their glorious forms.

Related Posts:

The following two tabs change content below.
Cindy Black is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Diplomate in Chinese Herbology, and Massage Therapist in Sarasota, FL. She co-founded the Finger Lakes School of Massage in 1994 with Andrea Butje, where she taught Anatomy, Sport Massage, and Oriental Medical Theory. Cindy has a great love for teaching, always providing fun, dynamic and thought-provoking learning experiences. In addition to teaching she maintains a private practice in Acupuncture, Massage and Chinese Herbal Medicine.

Latest posts by Cindy (see all)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen Peltier April 21, 2016 at 1:26 pm

Thank you Cindy for sharing your story about pine and hemlock, and your family. Your story brought me to tears. Pine and hemlock are such powerful medicines. As I read your story, it brought back my own grief in the loss of my dad and my grandparents, even though my grandparents died many years ago. I wonder if pine and hemlock are good for grieving/remembering one’s losses…


Tina del Castillo January 9, 2015 at 9:55 pm

A treasure of a story. And a beautiful memory. Thanks for sharing.


Andrea Butje January 13, 2015 at 9:49 am

Thank you for such kind words Tina! 🙂


Kristen Augusta September 24, 2008 at 8:27 am

There stands in the back yard, down by the stream, an ancient pine. Taller than my house which is 80 years old, and older than that I am sure. Shortly after we moved in a friend came to visit and we speculated about the plantings, future flowers and secret gardens. She pointed to the pine and said, “If you cut it down you’ll have more yard. Besides it’s old. It might fall on the garage.” The pine has stood watch over that small back yard and the narrow little gathering of ‘forest’ vegetation on the banks of that stream for nearly a century. It has sheltered children at play, been a jungle gym for squirrels and tethered the back end of a clothes line for decades. It has a history rooted in the earth and yes, she lacks the grace of youth but so do I. The scent of her needles, the rough scratch of her trunk is so essential to that space that to deliberatly remove her would be tragic.

We are blessed by the good Mother Earth. We should could keep our foot prints small and accept her healing gifts with joy.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: