There is this particular spot that always makes me smile, every time Molly and I explore a small (by Scottish standards) but gorgeous patch of mostly fairly ancient woodland a short drive from our front door.
The particular spot is Millennium Corner, purchased by the Woodland Trust in 2001 as an extension to much older Backmuir Wood to mark, well, the Millennium. Local people helped create the design and 8,200 trees were planted in 2002 — all native species, including oak, ash, rowan, Scots pine.
And copper beech — just exiting maximum autumn pomp right now — in a glade circling some standing stones that together are Millennium Corner’s ‘x marks the spot’ feature.
OK, all very lovely, but what’s with the smiling?
It turns out that, more than 20 years ago, I made a donation to the Woodland Trust to help bring Millennium Corner to life. At that point, I was living 100 miles north on the Aberdeenshire coast and had never visited this little corner of Angus, nor had any particular plans to.
Looked at rationally, the project must’ve just taken my fancy, I guess, and I was rewarded with a certificate attesting that a tree had been dedicated to me.
But I sense there’s a little more going on here.
When I stumbled across my Woodland Trust certificate while unpacking boxes after alighting in this corner of Tayside where Perthshire meets Angus, I had one of those moments. I’d already recently visited Backmuir by then, and I was already familiar with Millennium Corner, though I’d not paid it any more than generally appreciative attention.
And when I thought hard, I did also vaguely recall making the donation but nothing more: the details were all well and truly archived.
Now I stared at my certificate for a bit, kneeling down next to the box it had been in, and experienced one of those moments where past, present, future all merge seamlessly in some kind of a continuum you cannot articulate.
So here I am, and the sheer perfection of how these knots have tied together fills me with joy every time Molly and I pull into the Backmuir Wood car park. None of the Millennium Corner trees is specifically assigned to anyone — quite rightly — so I instead just love to look around me, take stock, and think ‘I helped make this happen, and here I am’.
And then I smile.
What I’m grateful for: Being able to re-experience that glimpse of an almost intangible continuum every time Molly and I visit Millennium Corner — plus the many smiles I’m clocking up!
What I’ve gained: A reminder, with every visit, to look way beyond the obvious, and that as we very likely exist in multiple dimensions at any one time there’s zero mileage in getting pulled into the drama…
What I appreciate: Something different with every Backmuir visit, but these past weeks it’s been the startling vibrancy of those copper beeches.
This exercise is one of the many powerful yet practical tools my coach Katie Joy has created to help us get clarity, abundance, and balance right across our lives. I can’t recommend her courses highly enough!
Image: Eugenie Verney