Monday, May 07, 2007

The Pensive Pine: Nature's Mystery

"The loud wind through the forest wakes
With sounds like ocean roaring, wild and deep,
And in yon gloomy Pines strange music makes,
Like symphonies unearthly, heard in sleep;
The sobbing waters wash their waves and weep,
Where moans the blast its dreary path along,
The bending Firs a mournful cadence keep."


Once again I have consulted my Bullfinch Flower Guide to learn about the pine tree, Nature's fragrant and wonderful creation which should be lauded in all seasons, not just Christmas. There is a long mythological tradition relating to the pine tree, which is a symbol, in flower world, of pity. "It is dedicated to Bacchus and also to Pan because Pitys, one of the many nymphs that Pan loved, was changed into a pine tree to escape the embraces of Boreas."

There was also a mythological tale of young lovers who were changed into a pine and a vine, so that they could forever embrace.

And of course I must mention that in Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST, it is in a pine that Sycorax imprisons the delicate Ariel, and only the power of Prospero can set Ariel free to work his dainty magic on the island, and in Prospero's heart.

The smell of pine is in my top ten fragrances of all time, but now that I know this, I shall always think of it as the smell of pity.

(Quote is from "Forget Me Not: A Floral Treasury," by Pamela Todd, Bulfinch Press, 1993).

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