Treebeard in the Fairy Forest

I went to see Treebeard the other day and he still has a majestic appearance. If you wonder who is Treebeard I always have one foot in the world of Tolkien.

Tolkien Gateway: Treebeard, also known as Fangorn, was the oldest of the Ents, a tree-like being who was a sort of “shepherd of trees”. Very tall and stiff-limbed, with bark-like skin and leafy hair, like most Ents, Treebeard took a long time to make up his mind. He repeatedly spoke of not “being hasty”.

O! What are you doing,
And where are you going?
Your ponies need shoeing!
The River is flowing!
O! Tra-la-la-lally
Here down in the valley!

Soon the time is approaching

This morning the air is fresh and sweet. Fruits and berries are maturing and a soft breeze carries a wonderful scent and the promise of a favourable harvest. Time is now approaching for happy walks.

None of your knowledge, your reading, your connections will be of any use here: two legs suffice, and big eyes to see with. Walk alone, across mountains or through forests. You are nobody to the hills or the thick boughs heavy with greenery. You are no longer a role, or a status, not even an individual, but a body, a body that feels sharp stones on the paths, the caress of long grass and the freshness of the wind. When you walk, the world has neither present nor future: nothing but the cycle of mornings and evenings. Always the same thing to do all day: walk. But the walker who marvels while walking (the blue of the rocks in a July evening light, the silvery green of olive leaves at noon, the violet morning hills) has no past, no plans, no experience. He has within him the eternal child. While walking I am but a simple gaze.

Frédéric Gros, A philosophy of walking

The Old Hawthorns In The Plague Cemetery

Idyllic, that’s the impression you get when you look at the old hawthorns in the sunshine.
That was also my first thought Saturday night.

I took a shortcut across the plain after visiting some friends.
A reflection of the sun light in the night sky intensified the sight of the old hawthorns.
The tree crowns seem to hover over the plain as white luminous domes.
But when I got closer, it was the wavy, crippled tree trunks, and a heavy nauseating odour of flowers that dominated.
It looked as if the deformed trees had been trying to flee away from bites of the deer, twisting their long limps across the ground.

I chose a shortcut between the trees even though my intuition told me not to.
The silence was unmistakable and I saw no people around.
I ignored my instincts, and concentrating on the direction, and the many roots of the trees.
It was more of a sensation than a sight, as a white shadow emerged behind a tree and disappeared behind the next.

I lost concentration and fell into the roots. The pain jogged through my whole body. I was lying for a second, that felt like an eternity.
It was as if the whole body was sleeping. I had difficulty lifting arms and legs.
Suddenly I saw why. I lay under the tree trunks. My anxiety caused me to stiffen, just as the crippled tribes.

A flickering light made me look up. A light that danced around the trees to a chorus of bird voices.
Time went to a halt and I slept. For how long I don’t know, but when I woke up the sun had risen.

I got up stumbled and started walking. It was only after a few steps that I remembered the hawthorns ruthless grip in me.
I looked back over my shoulder. Behind me fled scared horses while the hawthorns had started to move.

The sight of the long crawling roots pursued me all the way to my front door.
Small roots and twigs began to penetrate the cracks in my house, crawling across the floor.

Exactly at that time, the doorbell made me freeze.

“Do you need help in the garden?”

That’s my neighbour, calling me through an open window.
I wake up happy of my self-created nightmare.

What a relief to return to the everyday 🙂

Idyllisk, det er det indtryk, du får, når du ser de gamle hvidtjørne i solskinnet.
Det var også min første tanke lørdag aften, da jeg tog en genvej over sletten efter at have besøgt nogle venner.
En afspejling af sollyset i nathimlen intensiverede synet af de gamle træer.
Trækronerne synes at svæve over sletten, som hvide lysende kupler.
Men da jeg kom tættere på, var det de bølgede, krøllede træstammer, og en tung kvalmende lugt af blomster der dominerede.
Det så ud som om de deformerede træer havde forsøgt at flygte væk fra hjortenes bid, vridende deres lange lemmer hen over jorden.

Jeg valgte en genvej mellem træerne, selv om min intuition fortalte mig det modsatte.
Tavsheden var umiskendelig, og der var ikke spor af andre mennesker.
Jeg ignorerede mine instinkter og koncentrede mig om retningen og træernes mange rødder.

Det var mere en fornemmelse end et syn, da en hvid skygge kom frem bag et træ og forsvandt bag det næste.
Jeg tabte koncentrationen og faldt i rødderne. Smerten jog gennem hele kroppen. Jeg lå et øjeblik, der føltes som en evighed.
Det var som om hele kroppen sov. Jeg havde svært ved at løfte arme og ben. Pludselig så jeg hvorfor. Jeg lå under træstammerne.
Min angst fik mig til at stivne, akkurat som de krøblede stammer.

Et flimrende lys fik mig til at kigge op. Et lys, der dansede rundt om træerne til et kor af fuglestemmer.Tiden gik i stå, og jeg sov.
Hvor længe ved jeg ikke, men da jeg vågnede var morgenen begyndt at gry.

Jeg rejste mig, og begyndte at gå. Det var først efter et par skridt, at jeg huskede hvidtjørnens hensynsløse greb i mig.
Jeg kiggede tilbage over min skulder. Bag mig flygtede bange heste, mens træerne var begyndt at kravle.
Synet af de lange krybende stammer forfulgte mig hele vejen til min hoveddør.

Små rødder og kviste begynder at trænge ind i revnerne i mit hus og kravle over gulvet.
Præcis på det tidspunkt får dørklokken mig til at fare sammen.
“Har du brug for hjælp i haven” Det er min glade nabo, der kalder på mig gennem et åbent vindue.
Jeg vågner glad fra mit selvbestaltede mareridt.
Hvilken lettelse at vende tilbage til hverdagen 🙂

The Stream

March has been extremely rainy in Denmark, and we are only halfway there. The picture I took yesterday in the rain reminds me of Bobbeå, Bornholm.
Years ago we were celebrating Easter in Bornholm. It was in March, it was exceedingly cold, very windy and the most prevalent colour was brown and grey.
But the nature was staggering. Sea, rocks and impressive streams.
We defied the weather, and walked on a path along a stream surrounded by cliffs. Suddenly the path came to an end. We looked around and saw a tempting path on the other side of the stream.
We decided to wade the stream. We took off shoes and socks and went out into the ice-cold stream.
Do you know that it hurts to wade a stream in that time of year? It does!!
I am happy that it hasn’t been necessary in Norway, but I have read about other walkers heroic achievements.
The bigger hardships on a hike, the better the memory afterwards 😊

Marts har været særdeles regnfuld i Danmark, og vi er kun halvvejs. Billedet jeg tog i går i regnen, minder mig om Bobbeå på Bornholm.
For mange år siden fejrede vi påske på Bornholm. Det var i marts, det var ekstremt koldt, meget blæsende, og den mest udbredte farve var brun og grå.
Men naturen var svimlende. Hav, klipper og imponerende vandløb.
Vi trodsede vejret, og gik på en sti langs et vandløb omgivet af klipper. Pludselig ophørte stien. Vi kiggede rundt, og så en fristende sti på den anden side af åen.
Vi besluttede at vade strømmen. Vi tog sko og strømper af, og gik ud i den iskolde strøm.
Ved du, at det gør ondt at vade en strøm på denne tid af året?
Det gør det!!
Jeg er glad for, at det ikke har været nødvendigt i Norge, men jeg har læst om andre vandreres heroiske præstationer.
Jo større vanskeligheder på en vandretur, desto bedre husker man turen 😊

After the fight

“There’s been a fight going on!”
My first thought was that some people couldn’t agree on the bill at the little restaurant by the pond. But it turned out much more poetic.
The Cob had successfully defended his pen against another cob.
When I arrived to the pond, he was brushing the feathers as if it was a glorious knight armour and he certainly was impressive.

Sometimes special stories stick to you.
I fell for this story when I was a child and my family keeps the memory alive with small selected figures of frogs.
Not often, but with love 🙂

Once upon a time there was a tiny frog, who loved marmalade.
One day the frog was in a brilliant chatty mood, so it told all the other animals, who were passing by, how high it cherished marmalade.
A pig went by the pond where the frog looked up with big eyes.
What is your favourite food, asked the frog.
I love truffles, said the pig. What is your favourite food?
I love marmalade, said the frog with a broad smile.
A moment later a sheep went by the pond.
What is your favourite food, asked the frog. I love grass, said the sheep.
The frog was on the strain of eagerness to talk about his favourite food.
Thus went the whole day to tell the other animals about the lovely marmalade.
A stork heard the little frog talk about his favourite food.
He flew down to the frog looking him in the eyes.
What is your favourite food, asked the little frog.
I love the small wide-mouthed frogs, said the stork.
What is your favourite food, asked the stork.
I love “SYLTETØJ”, said the little wide-mouthed frog
By pronunciation the Danish word SYLTETØJ the mouth is pursed and thereby the little frog was rescued by a synonym for marmalade 🙂

The Death and the Hawthorn

I do not consider myself superstitious, but a week ago I was susceptible to the bizarre entertainment.

It all began with a stroll in the Deer Park on a field where Hawthorn represents itself in a large number. It was an amazing sight. Starry flowers gathered in endless white dome-shaped clouds buoyed by the ancient gnarled and wrinkled trunks.

The Eremitage Hawthorn

I Goggled the Hawthorn, when I got home. I found that the Hawthorn on that particularly field is unique. It has crossed spontaneously with the single-seeded Hawthorn one and a half kilometre away at the gate down to Taarbæk. The trees stand close here. and they grow on a mass grave. Yes, you got it right.

People died during the cholera epidemic in Copenhagen in 1853, 4750 humans to be precise. Those who weren’t infected yet drove the victims on carts from Copenhagen to Taarbæk. They built a chapel and buried the poor people in a mass grave inside the Deer Park. To prevent the spread of infection from the graves the single-seeded Hawthorn, with its needle-sharp long thorns kept people and animals away from the graves.
It aroused my curiosity and imagination. It was fascinating, and at the same time it also gave pause for thought. It is only a short time ago an Ebola epidemic was raging in Africa. Epidemics are always to be taken seriously.

The other day I visited the burial site. I went there on a late afternoon. It had just rained, it was cloudy and there was a sombre atmosphere about the place. Maybe I needed a rest, or maybe it was my encounter with the woman that influenced me.
She was suddenly in front of me. Where did she come from? She was white-haired and pale. Eyes were dark and odd tinned at the same time. She looked right through me, and I made way, otherwise she had walked into me on the narrow path.
Some hours earlier, I had read several stories of peasants who constantly prohibit felling the hawthorn. Felling a hawthorn means disaster on animals and humans, and the old superstition is alive and well.
I wondered how far photography was included in the many legends and myths that exist around the trees. I took the chance and found several motifs, after which I gladly left the burial site. I was unusually tired when I got home, and I attributed it to the long day I had.

At night I woke up with severe pain in the stomach. Yet I managed to fall asleep again.
Next morning I had fever and abdominal cramps something that is quite unfamiliar to me. I was very tired and slept all the time. When the illness was at it’s worst I thought of the cholera victims and the woman I had met. I had to pull myself together, luckily I had a very plausible explanation for my illness.

At long last, my health improved and I have been out there again. The sun was shining through the trees, and tourists walked down from the cozy Taarbæk. There were no trace of the woman I met the last time. Maybe I exaggerated her strange appearance a bit just to cheer myself up 🙂

The pictures ended with that warm evening light they deserve.
Despite my story I will always think of the field with the Eremitage-Hawthorn as the romantic harbinger of spring ❤

Eremitage Hawthorn

Hvidtjørnen og Døden

Jeg anser ikke mig selv for overtroisk, men for en uge siden var jeg alligevel modtagelig for den bizarre underholdning.

Det hele begyndte med en vandring på Hvidtjørnesletten i Jægersborg Dyrehave i maj måned. Det var et fantastisk syn, der mødte mig. Stjerneklare blomster samlede sig i endeløse hvide kuppelformede skyer holdt oppe af de ældgamle krogede og furede træstrammer.

Jeg googlede hvidtjørnen, da jeg kom hjem. Det viste sig, at hvidtjørnen på Sletten er unik. Den har krydset spontant med engriflet tjørn, der står halvanden kilometer væk ved porten ned til Taarbæk. Træerne står tæt her. og de er plantet på en massegrav. Ja, I læste rigtigt.

Der døde 4750 mennesker under koleraepedimien i København i 1853. En stor del af dem blev kørt på kærrer fra København op til Taarbæk. Her byggede man et kapel og begravede de mange mennesker i en massegrav inde i Jægersborg Dyrehave. For at undgå spredning af smitte fra gravene plantede man den engriflede tjørn, der med sine sylespidse lange torne holdt folk og dyr væk fra gravene.

Det vækkede min nysgerrighed og fantasi. Det var fascinerende, og på samme tid gav det også stof til eftertanke. Det er kun kort tid siden en Ebola epidemi rasede i Afrika. Epidemier skal tages alvorligt.

Forleden besøgte jeg gravpladsen. Jeg tog derud en sen eftermiddag. Det havde lige regnet, det var overskyet, og der herskede en dyster atmosfære over stedet.

Måske var jeg træt, eller også var det mit møde med kvinden, der påvirkede mig.

Hun stod pludselig foran mig. Hvor kom hun fra? Hun var helt hvidhåret og meget bleg. Øjnene var mørke og sært fortinnede på samme tid. Hun så ret igennem mig, og jeg veg til side, ellers var hun gået ind i mig på den smalle sti.

Nogle timer forinden havde jeg læst adskillige historier om bondemænd, som til stadighed forbyder at fælde hvidtjørnen. Det betyder ulykke over dyr og mennesker, og den gamle overtro lever i bedste velgående.

Jeg spekulerede over, hvor vidt fotografering indgik i de mange sagn og myter, der eksisterer omkring træerne.

Eremitage- Hvidtjørn

Jeg tog chancen og fandt flere motiver, hvorefter jeg med glæde forlod gravpladsen. Jeg var ualmindelig træt, da jeg kom hjem, og jeg tilskrev det den lange dag, jeg havde haft.

Om natten vågnede jeg med stærke smerter i maven. Det lykkedes mig dog at falde i søvn igen.

Næste morgen havde jeg feber og mavekramper noget, der er ganske uvant for mig. Jeg var meget træt og sov hele tiden. Da det var værst et par dage senere, tænkte jeg på koleraofrene og kvinden, jeg havde mødt. Jeg måtte tage mig selv i nakken, for heldigvis havde jeg en meget plausibel forklaring på min sygdom.

Nu har jeg fået det så godt, at jeg har været derude igen. Solen skinnede varmt mellem træerne, og turister kom gående nede fra det hyggelige Taarbæk.

Kvinden, jeg mødte den forrige gang, var der intet spor af. Måske har jeg også overdrevet hendes besynderlige fremtoning en smule bare for at muntre mig selv op 🙂

Billederne er gjort om med det varme aftenlys, de fortjener. Jeg vil altid tænke på Eremitagetjørnen, som den romantiske forårsbebuder den er, fornyelsen efter vinterens endeligt.

Hvidtjørnen blev også brugt, da pesten hærgede Danmark af flere omgange. Sidste gang i 1711.

”Kirkegårdenes indviede jord kunne ikke rumme de døde, og man slæbte dem derfor ud på marken i store dynger for at begrave dem dér, og oven på en sådan grav plantede man en hvidtjørn for at advare efterslægten fra at røre ved dette sted. Endnu efter 500 års forløb står trindt omkring på vore marker nogle mærkværdige gamle hvidtorn under navn af »pesttorn«; de fredes af bønderne, thi de står på vore forfædres grave. Hele det vestlige Fyn er rigt på sådanne enkeltstående gamle hvidtorn.” Danske Studier 1970.



God tur i den dejlige sommer!

The Hawthorn

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