Let me begin by saying I’m aware of the arrogance of giving a living organism older than I am a name. But, I didn’t like always referring to it as ‘my tree’ as though I could take possession of a tree that a) is alive in its own right and b) is on public property.
So, with my kids, I visited the tree and we experimented with different names until we got one that seemed to fit, and wasn’t a derivative of one of their favorite TV programs or audio dramas. Hofgaard it is. Naturally, I explained to Hofgaard that I was only using the name as a sort of shorthand until I had a better name for him (don’t know why I’ve gendered Hofgaard, but I think of him as a ‘him’).
It was with Hofgaard that I celebrated the solstice. It was with him that we waited for the first sunrise after the solstice. It’s with Hofgaard that I inted to celebrate the other festivals of the eightfold calendar, at least initially.
The thing is, it’s hard to form a relationship with a tree. So, rather than getting into the nuts and bolts of what I think an ‘anchor tree’ can be, I thought I’d tell you a bit about how I’ve been trying to force this relationship to move as quickly as possible.
- Hofgaard is about exactly a kilometer from my front door (according to my GPS tracker). That makes him a good distance when the kids are getting too antsy in the apartment and need to get out and burn some energy or get some fresh air, I tell them to get their shoes on and we’ll go to visit Hofgaard.
- I like to see Hofgaard at least once when I get out for a run. On long runs, I try to start by checking in with him, and end by swinging by again. Naturally, I have no conception of what he thinks of people running just to run, but it’s a chance to see him. Especially when he’s the last stop on a run, it’s nice to see his unique crown behind the trees in front of me and know that I’m getting close to him.
- Similarly, on several evenings I’ve realized that my day had been spent mostly sitting and, taking a beer with, I can get out for a walk and he gives me a place to go.
At the moment, I don’t know that I feel much of a relationship. I talk to Hofgaard, and sometimes it feels natural, but it always begins feeling forced. A lot of what I talk about is what I’m trying to wrap my head around in druidry, or how difficult it is for me to set into practice. When I feel like I’ve been too harsh to my kids, it’s to Hofgaard that I go now to confess. I don’t know that he cares, but it does somehow make me feel better.
Something that has to be said at this point, is that part of me is very aware of this being a time when Hofgaard is sleeping. I often wonder if I’m disturbing him, if I’m a pest or not. But, on the other hand, I don’t want to assume too much to either understand how he thinks or how he ticks, so it’s hard to know. Right now, I’m just going for the A-for-effort approach of doing the best I can, appologizing when I don’t know how he might feel about something (how do trees feel about people peeing in the woods? about vegetariansim? about cigar smoking?)
I imagine you’ll read more about Hofgaard as I move down this path. Now, though, you’ll at least know who I’m talking about when I mention Hofgaard.