After the storm- there’s always hope.
From my garden gate I can see this willow. The tree had five massive branches, all toppled by high winds last year. Now there’s new shoots from the fallen branches. Willows were seen as trees of celebration in Biblical times. At church,when I was little, I remember willow branches being used instead of palms to celebrate Palm Sunday.
Willows are often associated with sadness and mourning. As a young teenager I read Shakespeare’s Hamlet at school and can vividly recall the scene where Ophelia drowns beside a willow tree. A sad and lonely vision that stayed with me for some time. I was always too inclined to dwell on injustice and wrongs. But then, at that time, I still thought I had the power to change the world. On my bedroom wall I had a poster of the famous 1850s Ophelia by Millais.
Instead of sadness, I associate willows with catkins and the first signs of spring. Today is the Meteorological first day of spring. But in the Old Farmer’s Almanac spring doesn’t start until March 20th. I will be cutting back our willows today to make plant supports and arches. And the grey catkins will be a happy addition to my flower arrangements.