I don't make a habit of talking to trees.
Let me rephrase that... I don't often talk to...
Oh OK. I talk to trees all the time. And rocks, and flowers and bumble bees...
What I really mean is I don't often form a relationship with a tree. I talk to them and they are good enough to listen (not that I give them much choice), I pour out my heart and open my soul and am sometimes blessed with a little of their stillness in return, but it is a transient thing. There is rarely an attachment.
My beech tree, my Dartmoor tree is different. The connection we formed was almost instantaneous, not on sight, he stood proud beside the car park like so many others, nothing to mark him out as different, but when I laid my hand upon his bark... that's when the magic happened.
He is old, and ill. His bark, in places slimes and festers. One or two of his companions have already been felled. I know not when, or why, but I wonder if the same plight afflicted them. He knows he is not long for this world although time, to him, is not of my comprehension. It could be he will outlive me still, and yet each time our car turns into that lonely car park my heart is in my mouth in case he is gone.
He talks to me. He answers me. Not the questions I ask of him, that would be too simple. He reaches in and answers the questions I have not yet formed. He's almost scarily good at predicting pregnancies, even before the mother herself has wondered 'could I be...', he has known. I have known. He talks of changes, big changes. Cryptically, confusingly, but he's always right.
He talks of journeys to be undertaken, a pilgrimage. He talks of preparations for what is to come and although I am preparing blind, unknowing of what the future holds, prepare I do. I trust this magnificent tree. I glimpse his connections, his insights, his knowledge and take it all on trust.
I have faith.