This stanza’s riddle is about a tree. There lives a whole forest of important trees in the Rune Poem; this one is hrysted fægere, beautifully adorned, fair and decorative with leaves lyfte getenge, pressing against the sky.
Why is this tree important? You can tell the future with this tree, that’s why. It has tanas, twigs for divination. There are lots of words for a twig including twig, also gerd, croh, hris, læl, spranca, sprota, spæc, sumorloda, telga. This particular word for twig, tanas, tan, is the only one that specifies they are used for divining the future. Tanas are special twigs, prophetic twigs. Which trees produces twigs so special you could carve a rune into them and find out what’s coming? Who would know that? You know who knows that, Tacitus knows that, that’s who. He visited the people who lived north of Rome, all the … More
You don’t choose to eat a birch tree, this is not food, but it is food adjacent. A birch tree is close enough to being food that at the end of winter when you are out of everything and nothing’s fresh, you’ll see greens for your meal in the birch tree first: a gift from the sun to the earth and thereby you, an early edible tribute you badly need.
The shoots and the sap, go for them first. They happen first. The shoots, the tips of the branches, the new green leaves, they’re all nice in a stew and you can eat them fresh right off the tree. It’s a little bitter, but tender and will clear your bronchial passages which you might enjoy after a winter by smoky firelight.
You can’t have a society without a collective understanding of time. You can’t. Show me one. Time is the basis of everything: our idea of shared reality, what we think happens after we die, every question of faith, every approach to proof, everything. There are great similarities from culture to culture about the big mathematical details. For example, some have noticed that the sun moves the distance of its own radius every minute, it’s why we have a minute. It’s in the stuff we can’t prove and quantify where we can really see the personality of a people.
Your effort won’t bear the fruit you want. It will feed you well, though, and you will see the beauty that comes from your patience. Hold yourself upright (flexibly, remain bendable) press yourself to the sky and see your future, here already.