It was love at first sight, once in the presence of her gnarly, twisted, silvery leafed beauty. For I sensed from her a divinity, a deep soulful wisdom, an unflinching rootedness, both hollowed and holy. And when she bore her plump fruits in many varied shades of greens, purples, roses, and blues, hanging heavy from those long, lilting, lyrical, limbs, she became a passion. Ah, but then, when once I tasted the freshly pressed golden juice of her perfectly formed oval drupes, it was like sipping a sublime elixir my cells had thirsted for all my life.
I confess, that would be me and an ancient olive tree. And then, I fell in love with every one, each a unique being, a numinous creature, who has withstood the test of time, still thriving, shaped by and despite the stresses of droughts, fires, storms, severe prunings. Just imagine what these trees have witnessed, some having lived as many as 3000 years. I remember clearly one magnificent tree, before which, I had the overwhelming sense of standing in the presence of a Buddha.
Since ancient times the olive tree has been considered “the greatest gift of mankind” as was given by the Goddess Athena when she struck her spear into the ground and out sprang the olive tree, more valuable even than the waters that Poseidon brought forth. Studies show that our DNA is inextricably linked to that of the olive tree’s, as our evolution has been intertwined since the cradle of civilization. That is why the olive tree is the original “tree of life”.
This sacred tree has been associated with wisdom, peace, light, hope, fertility, health, wealth, and balance through the ages. Olive trees represent sustenance, endurance, illumination. There are innumerable myths and tales which express the intrinsic fusion and relationship of the olive tree to the land and to the people.
And so, having lived in the lands of ancient olive trees, having made whole life decisions based on them, having been unable to live without authentic extra virgin olive oil derived from these remarkably long-lived trees, having a passion for sharing that oil, and a deep residing belief and reverence for its health-giving qualities, I wanted to share a few ancient olive trees, of the Alentejo, Portugal, from whence our olive oil is sourced, that I have had the pleasure of meeting. Please enjoy!
“When the end of my tale finally comes, I imagine myself being the old woman in the story, who turns into an ancient crooked and gnarled olive tree. Then I would know, this is where I am, rooted and wise and awakened. Well I don’t know if that is a story, but it should be.”
“The olive tree is surely the richest gift of heaven.”