Milverton, Somerset

Benefice Hedgerow Chaplin in December

The Christmas month has arrived! The time of year that we were blessed with the baby Jesus, who came to show us the way and to lead us in praise of God and the Holy Spirit.

We have the Winter Solstice, or Celtic Yule on the 21 December , which marks the rebirth of the sun after that date.
The full moon will be on the 19 December  at 8.57pm, and will be a Micromoon, which means it will be at the farthest point away from Earth that it can get. It is called the Cold Moon or in Old English, the ‘Moon Before Yule’.

In nature, colours and life seem to disappear from our hedgerows and gardens. All part of the natural cyclic process, to withdraw, refresh, and arrive back in Spring, revitalised, full of colour and life!

Holly, ivy and mistletoe are bought indoors to brighten rooms to avoid that lack of colourless darkness. This goes back to Celtic times when deciduous trees lost their leaves but evergreens kept their leaves and colour. Mistletoe was also believed to hold magical qualities, and help to keep away spirits.

On your next walk look out for a tree that you have always liked, especially because most people can relate to one of the most natural and powerful life forms. I think we all have stopped and looked at an ancient tree and wondered what tales it could tell about its 100, 200 years of waiting, watching, and observing what goes on around it. In Celtic times trees were revered and honoured as important and powerful lifeforms. They knew what the trees were up to, silently standing there.

At this time of year, watch the leaves dropping, stare at the amazing colours, reds, yellows, browns and even shuffle and kick about in them for a bit of fun! Age doesn’t matter, honest!

As the months go by, study and look at the amazing branches now there are no leaves.

As spring approaches, look up into those branches and note when you see the first buds appearing, then the first new leaf, the first ripe fruit and again the first autumn tints appearing.

Watch as the tree changes colour dramatically into its full autumn foliage. The leaf fall and the fully bare tree once again. You could even join The Woodland Trust’s ‘nature calendar’ and keep them posted about ‘your tree’ through the course of the year.

Why do all of this? How many times do you go for a walk, look but don’t see? Concentrating like this helps you to ‘see’ and helps those trying to monitor and support our wonderful nature and environment.

And just to remind you…..Trees pull in carbon dioxide, by photosynthesis they convert it to compounds such as sugars to feed themselves. They then help us by producing oxygen which is released by the tree!

So, next time you look at a tree, love it, enjoy it, realise what it is doing for you and the planet! The last Pilgrimage Walk of the year will be on 21 December. Come along as a taster for next year!

Details of the walk will be in all four Benefice Churches with map and directions by the 26 November.

Do give me a call to let me know you are coming. Also, please call if you are still not sure what the Pilgrimage Walks are about, and maybe you feel you would really like to join us!

God bless and have a wonderful Christmas.

Steven Wort

Phone 01823 400232
Mobile 07557 958013