I twisted the ribbon nervously around my fingers. It was red for love, red for loss.
Around the tree other ribbons flapped in the breeze. I caught a white one. Letters were written on it in a language I didn’t understand but I could tell I held a prayer.
That faith shamed me. I had none. I didn’t even know why I was here. I didn’t really believe in the thorn tree or the legend of its origins. How likely was it that Jesus’ uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, had actually come to Glastonbury? And if he did, that this tree had taken root and grown from his staff?
So why was I here? What had made me trudge up this hill with a ribbon in my pocket?
There was only one answer to that. I was as broken as the tree. Only my wounds were a lot less visible than the vandalism the holy thorn had suffered.
I stretched out my hand and rested it on the trunk. My finger brushed against a small, bright green shoot pushing through the bark. A tiny sign of regrowth, of hope.
Suddenly, I was crying. With shaking fingers I tied my ribbon with the others. Held it tightly as words tumbled out of me, whispered to the wind and the silent tree. Then I let it go and my red ribbon fluttered brightly, joining the tapestry of prayers woven around the holy thorn.