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.