Meeting the Divine

On a whim today I took a trip to Airlie Gardens in Wilmington NC.
It was cloudy and a light sea fog swirled in off the water. I expected it to be a rather gloomy walk but instead the weather lent a deliciously mysterious ambiance for all the beautiful moss covered oaks on the property. The camellias are covered in rose-like flowers of white, pinks and reds. A few cheerful daffodils have lifted bright yellow faces and some dainty white snowflakes with their bright green eyes bob in the breeze. Within the next week or two all the spring flowers should be in bloom and I look forward to returning to see the gardens then. But the most spectacular sight in the Gardens is a giant 400 year old live oak called “The Airlie Oak”. I took several pics from multiple angles but there is just no way to convey the sheer majesty of this tree. When I caught the first sight just around a bend I just stopped in awe. Even from a distance I could feel the spirit of this tree. It took a moment to realize I had stopped breathing. The tree sits near the center of a wide lawn surrounded by other oaks all covered in droopy grey-green spanish moss. The surrounding trees are of great age themselves but next to the giant oak they seem like mere younglings. There is a protective rope around the giant oak but it’s branches stretch out beyond the line so I was able to walk up and gently lay a hand on a low branch. I instantly got goosebumps. I cannot describe the tree’s presence. I felt as though I was in the presence of Gaia herself, a Tree of Life. Literally! The branches are covered in ferns, mosses, lichen and in one crook a daffodil’s blades shoot up, possibly a forgotten bulb stashed by a squirrel. An entire ecosystem lives and breathes in the tree. It’s astonishing, awe-inspiring and utterly humbling. The Mother Goddess blessed me beyond measure this day.

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