The History Press 2021

Reviewed by Fiona Dowson


What lies at the heart of Green Spiritual practice is the ever turning wheel of the seasons, the constantly changing lunar cycle as the moon waxes and wanes, the cycle of the year as Spring grows to Summer.

Donald Smith has produced a lovely little book which celebrates just that in the form of stories and of his own garden.

Enchanting tales punctuate his telling of his own year journey, from snowdrops to ivy.

As the winter hag loosens her grip on the land and migrating birds return, we learn why the goldfinch has such bright colours but the snowdrop remains pure white.

Familiar stories like The Eagle and The Wren are woven with tales from other lands like the Japanese story of Cherry Blossom.

Most of the stories which Donald Smith tells (or writes) are Nature based. They twine elegantly around the changes in his own garden.

By August the garden is decorated with roses giving us the lovely story of Beauty and the Beast. In a month of beautiful flowers we can also remember the beast of winter which died so that summer could live.

From the garden comes the story of Jack climbing the beanstalk. It seems obvious, in a book about gardens and stories, to combine the two, but Donald Smith makes us look at the humble bean climbing towards the sun in a way which will always enchant us to wonder what lies at the top of the bean stalk.

Gardens are places of magic and wonder, places for hedgehogs, for blackbirds and blue tits as well as spaces to harvest fresh food.

Stories connect us to Nature in a very real way. What better place to tell a story than in your own tiny paradise?

Thank you, Donald, for creating such a beautiful little book. If you don’t already tell stories, which is very different from reading from a printed page, this will inspire you to dive in and take a deep breath then let the story flow from your own mouth and your own soul.

Thank you, The Scottish Storytelling Centre, for endorsing this.

My own telling of The Eagle and The Wren can be found on YouTube at: