Friday 30 March 2012: Flower Power
Been feeling a bit sneezy lately? This is probably one reason why - tree pollen time. This is the female flower of the Common Ash. The tree bears male flowers too, on different branches, but this is the one I could reach and hook down with a walking stick. Each flower looks small and innocuous, but the volume of flowers on one tree produce violent sneezes from the afflicted who venture too close. So many flowers give the tree a purplish reddish look until the leaves start to appear.
The Ash used to be worshipped as a sacred tree, a symbol of life force. In Norse mythology, Odin carved the first man out of ash. And Yggdrasil, the Tree of the World, was a giant ash whose roots reached all the way down to Hell and whose crown touched the high point of Heaven. The massive trunk united the two. The gods used to hold their Things or meetings daily in Yggdrasil. What more important tree can there be?
And we have dozens of the things , growing like weeds in every hedge, flower bed and multitudes in the grass beneath the larger trees. They are determined survivors and so far seem unaffected by the drought. A worthy symbol of the life force.