Heartwood project

April 2014. Karen has finished writing the first versions of the choral pieces that will form part of Heartwood. First attempts at performing them – even outside under a tree – sound wonderful! Karen has also discovered some more interesting folklore about ash, based on research by Roy Vickery. In 1831, a form of love divination using ash was recorded in Dorset, where a young girl who wants to divine her future love plucks an even numbered ash leaf, and holding it says “The even ash is in my hand, the first I meet shall be my man”. Similarly in Wales, according to tradition, young people search for an even-leaved ash, and the first person that finds one calls out “Cyniver” and is answered by the first of the other sex that also succeeds. These two would then, according to this omen, eventually be joined in wedlock. Part of the idea behind Heartwood is to consider what trees, such as ash, mean to us. If we are to conserve trees, or other living things, we need to value them – even to love them. “Cyniver” means attached, joined together, as a couple. In what ways, then, can we be attached to a tree?