Samhain 2013 at Hazelwood

Well, last Bards In The Woods for me this year, though I intend to go on winter walks to explore woods and forests I have not been to yet, or not visited for a few years.

Today, though, 27th October 2013, was at Hazelwood outside of Sligo Town. A fitting one, I feel, as this is the Samhain season and I feel hazel nuts and apples are the foods of this time

A small turnout. As with most Sundays this year it was a wet morning so messages of "not coming, too wet" were sent to me and as with most Sunday afternoons this year, we had a sunny afternoon and still some remarkable warmth for late October.

Just 5 of us, but we were all impressed with the number of people actually choosing to enjoy this small forest on a Sunday afternoon, the most I had seen in a forest for a long time.

Bridget spends a moment being blessed inside a lightning struck oak tree. Think about this one for a moment, there's lots of mythological things connecting in this pic.

Interesting big branch too, causing this to be called an "elephant tree" too.

We were fascinates by this gateway sculpture

with heads at each end

Nearby, an oak with a mysterious home of someone?

A wonderful coppiced oak, obviously not coppiced again for many, many years

Remarkable how the oak leaves, and many other trea leaves are still green for late October.

Normally, the oak being one of the first to brown and shed its leaves, is hanging on this year. I am sure many came here to see the autumn colours, and not expect to see this much green.

A small Holly tree by the Oak hoping to still be Holly King at Yule this year.

Many beautiful brown leaves have fallen, and you can hear them swish as you walk over them.

Time for a pause on this blog to view this wonderful ancient Yew Tree here

The are a few here, and I read out my Ioho The Yew poem from Ogma's Tale Of The Trees here as it also has a Samhain message too, but too long to republish in this blog.

Looking out over Lough Gill at the crannogs, well one crannog in this pic.

Passed a strange looking ancient oak

With a Douglas Fir growing with it

Intrigued by this grotto

That Bridget wants to stay in awhile, starting to become a habit on this walk

A bit more walking

Then the glorious picnic with wonderful food treats from all

Apple was the theme, as this is apple harvest time, and I personally added hazelnut as we were in Hazelwood, though Bridget reminded us it was more like Beechwood these days.

Even so, I brought some apple crumble cakebread with a crushed hazelnut topping

Some dairy free vegan apple-hazelnut-walnut cakebread with a honey glazed topping

Also a apple-hazelnut-cauliflower salad topped with Apple Bites

I have loved this Bards In The Woods season, stretched out over many more forests, some I have never been to before. Much smaller turnouts than last year despite much, much better Sunday afternoons weather

A dowsing wet Glendalough gathering, one of our best attended, and a bit of cold drizzle in Mayo once, but apart from that really lovely.

National Walk In The Woods day was a good turnout nationally, 29 Walks, but very few of those people entered a forest again this year, very sad.

I would personally like to see more ofcus on the picnics and local foods and more sharing of words and poems with each other.

I will post some blog posts here through winter as ideas and schedule develop for 2014.

Thank you so much all of you who shared the forests with us this year, and a big hug to Liza Watters and the Woodland people in Louth who gather good turnouts to share the woodlands together.

I will finish this with a connection to the Apple theme and Hazelwood and my satire on The Song Of The Wandering Aengus from Ogma's Tale Of The Trees, Quirt The Apple
Quirt the Apple

Did you know that within every apple there lies

something waiting to surprise.
Instead of slicing down, slice through
and watch a star appear and twinkle for you!

At harvest time each day on my ladder
I reach closer towards the sky
picking apples, filling barrels,
for mead, for cider, and to make apple pie.

But I am done with apple-picking for now.
Its time for winter sleep that longer nights allow
the scent of the apples calms me and calls me.
What will my dreaming allow me to be.

In the twilight before sleep
I can see apples appear and disappear;
every one with perfect skin shining clear.
Yes, this was the great harvest we all desired
to nourish us through winter, but now I'm tired

And there are voices singing
Apples, apples, look here's our treat,
big and small they're all good to eat.
One side red, other side green,
russets and coxes all washed clean

But where are the crab-apples,
Still out in the wood?
Bitter for the big folk,
but for us they are good!

So come all ye let's gather them up:
Make jelly with honey and mead for us to sup.

From mead we reveal stories
of darkness to light
Monsters who became angels
to guide us through the night.

A poet once visited,
told us of his longing,
seeking for the dream,
his desire for courting.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;

We walked with him among long dappled grass,
and plucked till time and times are done.
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Through a moment's smile
he shared more wisdom for awhile;
peering above spectacles steamed
as we giggled, burped and beamed.

This is a tree
With leaves so green.
Here are its apples
that hang in between.
If I picked two apples,
do you know what I would do?

Shine them up,
keep one for me,
give the other one to you.


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