Over Christmas, my family spent a lot of time together. Ok, so this isn’t really an unusual thing, because I practically live in my mother’s pocket and my brother also pops by fairly frequently. We all live locally to each other. But as you know, Christmas can sometimes mean that everyone spends a better quality of time together, maybe engaging with each other in more meaningful ways than usual.
We had one of those evenings over Christmas where my family had congregated in the hallway, sitting around on the stairs. I realise that this sounds bizarre, but this is a place in my parents’ house where we always seem to hang out, or ‘lime’ as my Trinidadian mum sometimes says. Their hallway is large, and the kids’ toys are all there, so we often just gather there with our cuppas.
My dad and brother had been talking about music, as we all frequently do with it being such a huge part of our lives. My brother and I have adopted much of our parents’ musical tastes as our own, so we always like to hear about music that they used to listen to. My dad wanted to find something that he thought my brother would like, and located an album called ‘From the Witchwood’ by a band called The Strawbs.
The Strawbs are an English folk band, founded back in the 1960s. A lot of their work hailed from the 1970s, which is my favourite decade for music, but they are still playing and touring now. My dad played us the album, and a track called ‘Witchwood’ came on. My brother and I became captivated by that song. My brother swiped the album right there – my dad is unlikely to ever see it again. Meanwhile I went home and purchased the track so that I could listen to it to my heart’s content.
It was such a mesmerising song, with beautiful, haunting melodies and an almost ancient, medieval sound to it. The lyrics were also just as beautiful as the song,
“My fingers grew like branches
I stood rooted to the ground”
Despite the lyrics, the song is not about the woods or the trees. However, it prompted me to consider the woods in the winter. The ghostly nature of the bare trees in the freezing cold have always been a source of magic to me. I didn’t relate to ‘Witchwood’ on a narcotics level (which is what the song is really about), but I did relate to it on a literal sense of the song’s words.
Over the following weeks, I was inspired to head out to woody areas with the kids, in the freezing January weather. I captured a lot of our moments out in the trees, and I compiled them into this video clip, with the backing track of ‘Witchwood’. All bar one of the photos feature trees, whether they be the main feature of the photo or a less prominent presence in the background. All of this outdoor fun was inspired by that song, and I would love to know if you found it as captivating as I did.