Sunday, 29 August 2010
THE BIRCH TREE
Here is the birch tree showing the classic signs of bark peeling,good news for the woodsman,bad news for the tree.In a few years this tree could be dead.Some people blame global warming,as very hot temperatures,lack of rain causes the tree to shed bark,also its been noticed that birch bark quality has declined dramatically,the old natives of past times wouldnt be able to just select almost any birch tree and use its bark for a birch bark canoe, even in parts of the extreme north the birch bark quality is suffering..The theory is the colder the climate the better the birch bark....Everywhere in nature things are showing signs of being affected by pollution,My two best indicators are the birch tree,and the peppered moth.In parts of some of woodlands which are well away from any civilization,the peppered moth can be seen almost sooty in appearance,resting on a birch tree that also has a sooty bark texture,gnarled and full of holes....In my video of the fallen birch tree i mention collecting birch bark on fallen weak trees,as an alternative to peeling off bark from a healthy tree...I know alot of bushcrafters favour this tree for its craft values of its bark,but please consider,do you really have to partially skin a tree just for a hobby?There are other ways of practicing making say for instance a birch bark cup,A decent thickness of a large sheet of cardboard would do.Im all for reaching inside ones ancient spirit and learning to do such things as our ancestors did of old,dont get me wrong,but as ive said,look around firstly before you start skinning the tree,there may just be a fallen birch,which even in its death could live on in something you have made..In a survival situation or earth living any birch tree would give up its life for us,that is an ancient bond and understanding that goes back when man was given kingship over all living things,and shown the earth medicine ways.
To me as a woodsman the birch tree has been a constant companion,many a full moon night ive watched her bark shine in the moonlight,i see early signs of spring through her in her sap rising,she gives me a healthy spring tonic in this sap,it provides me with a form of sugar,her inner bark can give me flour,her bark,buds,twigs,and leaves will give me a good tea,a strong mixture will ease my colds,and i can wash with it for any rashes etc,i can also gargle with it for mouth sores..Her medicine doesnt end here,she helps me de-scent my body before a hunt,her bark provides me wamth through tinder and shingles,she can light up my path at night using a bundle of her bark as a torch,with this i can also attract fish,and of course within her is a bowl, a cup,Her bark is used in sweatlodges,to cleanse the body and the spirit.The birch trees medicine is feminine,her direction is East,She is the tree of Venus,and her sign is water....To me the birch is the mother tree,I hope to walk many a journey with her all around me,until i walk no more.....
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