Friday, 16 August 2013

Never cut the elder tree

Had a big family fight. Mostly recriminations, accusations, resentments. It started because I sawed a branch off the elder tree to make my kitchen wands (very good, practical, you should buy one; find them at the craft stall soon).

Squirrel was outraged at the elder branch removal. She said I had not asked permission. I said if you mean of the tree, I'm sure I did. I made due requests to the elder mother and I gave my respectful thanks. I probably turned east, west, south and north too. Of anyone else, I didn't think I had to. The thing is in our garden.

This did nothing to mitigate the crime.

Anyway, the argument quickly escalated. My elder violation came hard on the theft of the dotty ribbon and the purloining of Shark's glow-in-the-dark glitter.

Alright, I admit, I did pinch the glitter. The ribbon was an accident. But since I am in truth and reconciliation, I also offered of my own free will Tiger's beads from Sham Shui Po. But I said, Tiger has millions of them and I didn't think she would miss five. I stitched them into the binding of a notebook and they looked very pretty. After I sold it, I distinctly recall I gave each of my daughters a fiver, which is not a bad return on five pink beads.

Squirrel said the money was like blood money only worse, and you cannot buy your way out of betrayal.

She went on. If I would like to remember, the elder tree, ribbon, glitter and beads are not my only crimes. It is the way I go about collecting things that are not mine (bits of bark, hand-made paper scraps, lengths of wool, that sort of thing). I told Squirrel she should be grateful she got her squirrelling tendencies from someone like me, who is so clearly very sane and well-balanced, indeed she should thank me, because with our collecting natures and delight over earth's details and natural found things, her future happiness and content is almost guaranteed.

That made it worse. Out came the grudge about how I had stolen the entire back bedroom earlier in the year to turn it into my workroom.

But I have to stash the craft items somewhere! The front room looked like Mr Trebus had given me interior decorating tips on storing and sorting. And I have to make at least twenty woody notebooks for my woodland spellbound theme, so it's not surprising if I am in the workroom every day, concentrating on the delights of silver birch and hawthorn.

I cannot say that anything I said made anything better. After a couple of hours it had descended into yelling (me), clawing at head in frustration (me again), throwing tea towels about (yup) and slamming doors (twice) before forcing the entire family to sit round the table to thrash out a negotiated settlement on elder tree use and notebook making hours.

Which includes, incidentally, the strict injunction that I am to saw my wood from elsewhere; to the earthly guardian of the elder tree, the elder in our garden is precious, more rare and beautiful than anything, and the fact that it already died last year, that matters not one bit.


Deb said...

You aren't taking stuff that isn't yours, you're RECYCLING.


Grit said...

you can come round here and argue my case, deb. personally, i think it all stems from 2004 when she caught me bagging up sackfuls of her trash for the tip. it was a scarring moment.