In my front pasture are beautiful shrubby trees that flower pink and white in the spring. It took a trip to Ireland to learn that they're hawthorn bushes.

In Ireland, we saw hedges made from stone, and hedges made from living, growing shrubbery and trees. In early June, we were lucky enough to see the hawthorn hedges in full bloom.

As we drove north along the western coast, we saw a lot of farmland enclosed by these hedges, and our guide told us quite a bit about the lore of the hawthorn in Ireland. There are many traditions. Once it was believed that the hawthorn was sacred to the fairies, and that fairy spirits inhabited the trees. On the first of May, young women would wear a sprig of hawthorn blossom tucked in their bodice, in hopes of attracting a husband. It was believed that keeping a thorn from a hawthorn in your tackle box would guarantee a good catch. And that planting a hawthorn near a house would protect it from storms and lightning strikes.

Even today, some of those traditions linger. It is still believed to be bad luck to cut down a hawthorn tree that is standing alone, and as we passed hedgerows that were being pruned, it was clear that the hawthorns were left strictly alone.

I'm not a superstitious person, but those pink and white hawthorns in my front pasture? They're welcome to stay right where they are, and grow as much as they want.

1 comment:

  1. Those are some very interesting facts about the Hawthorne trees.


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