When I found out what Rowan trees looked like, I started seeing them everywhere: behind the football field, in the church yard, in Grandma’s back garden. Everywhere.
They kind of reminded me of Christmas with their green leaves and red berries but I liked that they blossomed white in spring. It resembled a new start, balancing the seasons.
I searched for Rowan trees in the school library and found lots of Celtic mythology. They have a sacred history. Back then, they were called Trees of Life and the Celts planted them close to their homes for courage and wisdom. They were especially known for their protective properties.
I liked to think they would protect Grandma. She was getting old.
In the spring, the leaves on a Rowan tree unfurl to look like feathers. It reminded me that everything in nature is connected, like how tree rings look like fingerprints and the moon is the same shape as the sun.
I learned that Rowans have loads of uses as well. The wood is good for carving and makes good walking sticks. Back in the olden days, before they had shops and Amazon, the berries were used to make black clothing dye.
The berries looked kind of like cranberries and I wanted to eat them. I begged Mum to let me use Google on her phone:
can i eat rowanberries
Yes. But they weren’t very nice and they gave me a stomach ache because I forgot to cook them.
The seeds are inside the berries. I had a nightmare where I drank lots of water and opened my mouth up to the sun and they grew inside of me. Their roots wrapped around my veins and their leaves sprouted out my ears.
I refused to drink anything or open my mouth at all the next day (except for dinner time because Mum made spaghetti bolognaise).
I didn’t turn into a tree, but after that I did feel like one. The Rowans became a second family to me. The corner that Grandma’s Rowan lived in became a second home.
It didn’t protect her after all because she died of heart disease the following year, but there’s still a Rowan tree at the gates of the cemetery, watching over her.
Watching over all of us.
Deborah Rose Green is Contributing Editor for Hey Young Writer! She is also the author of Dragon Pearls (2019) and Crown My Heart (2020). You can follow her on Instagram at @authordeborahrose or visit her website, deborahrosegreen.co.uk!