Arts

The Red Beech of the Middle Rhine

Tonight, we celebrate birth and renewal at the intersection of Earth and Sky. Trees are a great place for that, both the wooden kind and the human ones walking through the woods and across the grass. Even the snow. Even walking across the snow. Here’s the old red beech that sheltered my father during the Second World War, one of just a handful of trees still standing at Schloss Favorite on the Rhine Plain below the Black Forest, that were planted after the 30 Years War. The rest were modernized and are old now themselves. She remains.

She is beautiful. I took my father to visit her one last time nearly 5 years ago now. He sat at her feet and would not budge. “We had a long talk,” he said. I’m sure they did. Isn’t she gorgeous? Merry Christmas, everyone! Our histories will catch up to us soon enough. But for now, let us rejoice that we are walking along, carrying our roots within us.

2 replies »

  1. Elif Shafak’s The island of missing trees features a wise old fig: “For wisdom, try a beech; for intelligence, a pine; for bravery, a rowan; for generosity, a hazel; for joy, a juniper; and for when you need to let go of what you cannot control, a birch with its silver-white bark, peeling and shedding layers like old skins.”

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