Yesterday when I came home from work and walked through my door, I nearly burst into tears. Only days after agreeing on climate change policies in Paris, the UK government approved fracking under our national parks. Yes, protected areas of natural beauty and wilderness are now open to being fracked, so long as it is started just outside the park boundary. What’s worse, and which isn’t being talked about so much, is that the government has a veto power to override any area that has said “no” to fracking. Standing in the porch, despair just settled in, as it doesn’t seem to matter what we do, what we say, or how we live our lives. Those in power who are trying to line their own pockets and those of their constituents will do what they like, regardless. What’s the point?
Later that evening, as I lay in bed, unable to sleep, I tried to look beyond the despair, to see the situation from another perspective. As a Druid, I considered where I take my inspiration, where my soul finds sustenance, where that deep relationship happens that enables me to carry on, day after day. Where does the Druid get inspiration from? The Druid’s authority is nature. Not the government, not humanity, but nature. Looking deeply into the natural world, we can see how we can be in the world, continuing in our quest to live with honour and integrity, to the best of our abilities.
I thought of the oak tree. Druid; dru, meaning oak, and wid, meaning wisdom. The wisdom of the oak. What was the wisdom of the oak that could help lift me out of this despair, to continue to live in a tyrannical country where the people’s voices are not heard?
The oak tree grows, from a little acorn, into the best tree that it can dependent upon the conditions of its environment. Whether the soil is poor or good, the weather favourable or not, the tree will grow to the best of its ability, fulfilling its potential as an oak tree, singing its song clearly. Sometimes the conditions are perfect; sometimes they lead to the demise of the tree but still the tree carries on as best it can. One of two oak trees that I love split in half a couple of years ago in a wind storm, and yet it still carries on, the fallen half only half alive, the other half continuing as if nothing had changed. It knows its purpose as an oak tree, to grow, to live, to be in its environment. There are several old oaks trees around here that have suffered greatly from past storms, old age and more. But still they carry on. They inspire me.
Yes, someone could cut them down tomorrow. That does not mean that they will not be the best oak trees they can be right now. That does not mean that they will not produce acorns in the fall, or drop their leaves to sustain them through winter and spring. It does not mean that they will not provide food and shelter for those living near them. The wisdom of the oak.
I will continue to do what I can. I will continue to give, to care, to follow my Druid’s inspiration, the wisdom of the oak. Even if I break, even if I fall, still the dru wid will carry me. I will continue to live my live utterly dedicated to my gods, the ancestors, and the natural world. I will continue to seek deep integration with the land, and let the example of how I live my life to be my song sung into the winter’s night, filled with gratitude and reverence. I will continue to see the many blessings, and work against those seek to use nature only as a resource, fulfilling their greedy and empty lives with the hollow intake of cash. The oak tree will whisper its wisdom, to carry on, to grow, wherever you have taken root, wherever life takes you, whatever condition you find yourself in. And if you do this, you do not fail, you cannot fail, for you have found the meaning of life.