I sat with this tree yesterday. Her familiar friendliness filled my heart. Acer platanoides, the Norway Maple, bears a reputation as an invasive tree and yet and it stands as one of my nearest and dearest childhood friends. Right now, where I live the maples are blooming golden green blossoms that look like mini fireworks. As a child we used to harvest the flower clusters and stuff them in our mouths slurping up the sweet sticky nectar, careful for the ants that had the same idea. The memory of that simple treat has stayed with me through my adult life. I love to watch my daughter do the same thing.
The roots of this variety of maple are shallow which allows it to spread easily but also provides a bumpy bench for small bottoms to rest upon and scratch in the dirt around the tree. The blooms of this tree are so short-lived you could practically sit and watch hour by hour the transformation from blossom to leaf. When all is accomplished the green hand-like leaves wave, as if the whole thing was a show just for me.
Coarse bark wraps around this tree, offering bare feet a good toe-hold and the generous large strong branches make it quite climbable for the adventuresome. Oh! Remember the feeling of sitting in the branches of such a tree? Once aloft, one can commune with the birds, the sky and revel in the green beauty wrapped all around. Trees nannied me as a child, back when it was so easy to learn and listen to their wisdom.
One of the ways to capture this magical energy of a plant, to keep with you even when you are not able to sit under it, is to make a flower essence. At one time I had a collection of over 600 essences from plants all over the world. Maple essence is said to offer protection to someone who feels overwhelmed and vulnerable. The energy from it’s strong, pervasive roots can help a person find a sense of home, of belonging and the sweetness of it’s flowers and sap help lighten the spirit and bring a sense of joy to the disheartened. The maple is part of my community and an important remedy in my medicine bag. What tree speaks to your heart?