A Nature Deva in New Hampshire decided that, in her domain, she would match the rather stern, silent but hardy balsams with the softer, gentler white paper birches. The balsams could help support the birches in the winter, and the birches could help soften the balsams’ stern tendencies.
I came upon this story, and a loving balsam-birch couple, one warm sunny summer day. I was walking through the woods when I heard them whispering to each other “I love you” – a deeper male voice and a softer female voice. I stopped to watch and listen, and took some photographs. It was clear the birch was soon to die, the balsam was heart-broken at the prospect, and they were professing their enduring love for each other.
I have a lovely photograph of them kissing – see to the left and immediately below. And I wrote about the story in my book Nature Spirits, Spirit Guides and Ghosts. But…what happened next?
Over the next few years, on my summer trips to New Hampshire, I would walk the woodland path and check in with my balsam and birch colleagues. The photos I took over the years are heart-breaking in the degree of love and loss the balsam still felt for the birch, and how hard he worked to just keep her physical presence with him. It was also touching because it showed the profoundly deep and enduring feelings a tree had for another tree. Love is, indeed, universal.
Here is a photograph several years after the first. You can see the distinct face of the balsam, staring lovingly at the face of the birch. You can also see the longing of the balsam, still reaching out to the birch, who is now dead and beginning to pull away as she starts to slide down the hill on which the two stand.
Here, another few years later, the balsam is still attempting to hold his beloved birch close to him, the effort now straining his branches to the point of breaking.
(You can also see how my photographic skills have improved over the years!)
You can read about the Balsam and the Birch, and other nature spirit stories, in my book Nature Spirits, Spirit Guides and Ghosts.
You can see more images of tree spirits in the art area of the Crystal Life website.