Friday, 10 February 2017

The Linden Tree

Elegantly, eternally sentinel, numerous Linden trees grace the paths & hedge the children's playground in our local & beloved Cornwall Park & have patiently done so for decades, yet I have only become familiar with them these last two summers & other seasons.
Their feminine presence & beauty have often caught my eye and I have loved them dearly, even though they have remained unnamed & classified in my brain.
It is easy to take these things for granted & if there's no well informed person to ask just near by, at the exact time that you come to realise that you don't know what that tree over there is actually called, then ignorance may remain.
Just over two years ago I read a post somewhere about Linden flower infusions & how marvellously anti-inflammatory they are. It was said that the flowers have the most wonderful fragrance too.
And so began my quest to identify a Linden tree & inhale that scent for myself. Linden trees are also known as Tilias, Basswood or Lime Blossom trees.
Just like silent guardian angels they'd been right there all along, in our park,
 in gardens,
along the streets in Napier & even at the showgrounds just down the road.
Everywhere I go I spot them now.
Their elegance & grace unsurpassed.
They are well known & long revered in Europe, lining the streets of Berlin, I am told.
Here in New Zealand we know trees by name, but seldom for their significance or symbolism.
In Poland, Linden trees are regarded as Sacred or Holy trees
& to many they are a symbol of peace, truth & justice.
Linden flowers right on Christmas here, the scent heavenly, heady, musky & overwhelming.
At the height of their flowering thousands of bees swarm the trees hungrily.
It is odd that we do not have Linden honey here as it is so highly prized in many other lands.
Gathering Linden flowers is such a joy & well worth the time.
Just watch out for bees! Linden flowers make a floral, effective & pleasant anti- inflammatory tea or infusion.
Susun Weeds article here is most useful.
The flowers can also be steeped in a mixture of honey & brandy to make the most divine elixir.

Beautiful through every season the Linden.
I have come to love them dearly
& am so grateful to the early settlers for planting them.
"The Linden tree forms a vertical axis which organises the relationship between the earth and the heavens. It represents both the tree of life and the point of contact between heaven and earth."

Just before Christmas this last year we picnicked under the sheltering fragrant bowers of the Linden in the A&P Showgrounds. I loved this expression I found associated with Limes- "The rushing lime-tree announces good news." Entirely perfect that they flower here over the week of Christmas-time.  How wonderful that the Linden tree also symbolises peace & goodwill.
The heart-shaped lime tree leaf is associated with the heart and all its symbolism, which explains its association with the principles of Love, Fidelity and Justice. The dance lime tree is a “Tree of Love”.

"This tree, whose bark was used to weave textiles and make ropes, is by extension a “Tree of Ties That Bind”, linking together communities and individuals. The components of its bark, sapwood, leaves and flowers are used in many medicines, making the lime tree the king of the “Medicine Trees”.
The tree that binds in both romantic love, friendship & even in community.
Linden, the tree that heals. Well, I am so glad to make your acquaintance- indeed a powerful & sacred tree, I honour you in my own land & community.
Oh, & did I mention that the Linden tree can live for a thousand years!

“I smell fairies at my feet, I’m sitting under a linden tree;
Bees abuzz and birds atweet, linden blossoms sure smell sweet.
Linden, linden heal my heart,
You can bring me a brand new start.”

Mary Cicely Barker's The Lime Tree Fairy.
Excerpts found here.