The White Forest of Andalusia

Once, when the world was younger, high in the hills which need crossing if one sets off from Granada with intent to reach the coast a long day’s march away, there grew a forest. A white forest. Those who knew of it even whispered; an enchanted forest.

Now in calling it a forest, these same people probably intended to lend an air of importance to this gathering of trees, which their total number possibly failed to fully justify. For altogether, were one to set aside the time required for counting them, one would reach 47, not one more, nor one fewer.

Almond Trees Andalusia

However, as people who reached this spot which lay just over the ridge

that separates views to the North East of the snow capped Sierra Nevada from the green valleys stretching South down to the Sea, often had set off with no intention of reaching the coast, but rather with this exact coppice, copse or grove in mind, it seemed appropriate to assign to it this somewhat grander appellation and be done with it.

Andalusian Almond Blossom

And those who came were many. And they came from far. And when they did so, they came exactly at that time of year when the Andalusian winters had just begun to turn and Spring with her warner breezes and sunbeams one felt like just sitting in, was calling to the plants beneath the scattered snow patches. For thirty days they would come and for thirty days they would leave, leaving the forest once more to return to its more habitual solitude.

Almond Tree Andalusia

Pilgrims to The White Forest of Andalusia came, as pilgrims often do, seeking answers. They came for peace of mind. They came for magic. And here under the branches of this sacred place, it is said they found them. The instructions such as they were, were simple. Anyone with an important decision to make, a problem that weighed them down or something preventing their sleep from reaching an entirely peaceful state, would set off and inevitably use the many miles of the journey to ponder their dilemma. Upon reaching the forest, naturally weary, they would select from the 47 a tree that somehow called to them, lie down and fall into a deep sleep under the canvas of the white and flowers above.

Almond Blossom Andalusia

What happened during this famed sleep, has never been fully explained. There are those that would try with science, but magic is more powerful and to this day it remains a mystery. What is known, is as follows… Awaking on the chosen bed of grass, the previously confused, uncertain and worried pilgrim would find all these conditions removed and in the space these demons previously occupied, would lie the answer, clear and simple.

Almond Blossom Andalusia Tree

One can imagine the power of such a place, though of course, not everyone believed. Those who chose to, would then embark upon their journey home, where they could act upon the advice given by the time in the forest. The end? No, well it would not make for much of a fairytale if things ended here… For man, as we know can be fickle, arrogant and set in his ways. And advice as we know is often easily given and of the many who receive it, only the wise profit from it.

Andalusian Almond Tree in Blossom

One by one pilgrims drifted off home, often with full intent to heed the advice and follow the answers they had received. But as miles followed miles and the forest seemed further away, as when music slowly fades when we leave a concert, so in the minds of many, the answer would become more and more quiet. Often, even when we ask for answers, our minds are made up anyway and so it was that many returned home and acted as they were always going to.

Almond blossom branch close up

And each time they did, the forest died a little. It is said the magic lay in the beautiful white and pink flowers that blossomed during these exact thirty days. Each flower had the power to help one pilgrim. So when the pilgrim listened to the voice of the forest, the flower would fall off, only to regrow the following Spring. However, whenever the advice was ignored and often the opposite decision taken the flower would fail to regrow in Spring. And The White Forest of Andalusia died just a little more.

The End (this time it is)

The days of magic have faded. There are not many left who believe. And although after I told this story to the people in my village and showed them the photos I have shown you, they told me these almond trees in blossom (this was the first time I had seen them and I hope my photos have portrayed something of their incredible beauty) attract lots of people each year – for their beauty, not answers (I made that part up) – I have yet to see these ‘lots of people’ in this enchanted place two hours from my house.

The White Forest of Andalusia

But the magic is still there. You can see for yourself from the photos, it is true that many flowers have not regrown. The great time of pilgrimage is centuries past and so over time, many an answer has gone un-listened to. The forest is dying. But for those who still believe there are plenty of white flowers left on the 47 trees… I think to this day, anyone who comes here, takes a nap and believes even just a little in magic, will, thanks to The White Forest of Andalusia, wake up with things a little more in perspective.

~ by 2ndcupoftea on January 5, 2016.

6 Responses to “The White Forest of Andalusia”

  1. Exquisitely written and so appealing to my whitewitchiness ! Atmospheric photos that truly beckon—Reading and viewing have made a lovely start to my day.Thank you! Many hugs,B.XXX

    • Thanks you 😉 I love writing the ‘fairytale’ style pieces – they seem to come most naturally… And yes a perfect place for your witching skills… Baci x x x

  2. Thank you, Thomas. This little tale strengthens our resolve to one day soon reunite with you in your chosen homeland of Andalusia. Wishing you a fabulous New Year and many happy travels. Your friends, Rich & Pam

    • Dear Rich and Pam. It would be wonderful to travel with you two again and nowhere more so than here 😉 Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I wish you the best start to 2016!

  3. Thomas, Love reading your articles; they inspire me to want to travel abroad again. I was disappointed to see that you will no longer be working with ACIS as we have another daughter in school. The trip to Italy was so memorable; we (Kat and I) still reminisce often. Safe travels to you in 2016.

    • Thank so much. That is so sweet of you – to read and comment and most of all, to want to send another daughter around Europe with me. It was not an easy decision to leave ACIS after 15 season, I really miss ‘my kids’ as I call them. But I needed to make sure they still thought of me as young and heaven forbid – cool – enough to keep listening to me and be inspired to travel. Getting on a bit I am 😉

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