Greetings and welcome to the Festival of the Trees 12 - Meditations.
Many of us blog about trees or forests because of the personal connections we make with them in our day-to-day. Amid the bombastic cries in the media of “Go Green” and “Stop Global Warming,” it can be easy to overlook the power of our individual relationships with trees to help change the way we (as a species) interact with the Earth. When we blog about trees in our respective regions, we share a sort of ongoing, global meditation on the green and growing world.
Our cover image for Festival of the Trees 12: Meditations is “The Tree” from the Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert. For those who are unfamiliar, tarot is a tool which uses systems of symbols, images, archetypes, and other “alphabets” on a deck of cards to explore a given topic.
Tarot decks usually contain a sequence of 22 “majors”: a common set of standard cards, each rather like characters in a story. The Tree (Joanna’s version of The Hanged Man) is card number 12 in the tarot.
Hanami – Cherry Tree Blossom Viewing
Hanami, meaning “flower viewing,” is a Japanese custom of viewing cherry blossoms. People come out in the springtime to enjoy a sort of floral meditation as the cherry tree blossoms (sakura) open around Japan (and many other regions in the northern hemisphere).
In 1912, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo, Japan gifted the city of Washington D.C., United States with 3,000 cherry trees as “a memorial of national friendship between the United States and Japan and a celebration of the continued close relationship between the people of the two countries.”
Back Yards Around the World
Candice Dillhoff of Leavenworth, Washington, USA lives in the Eastern Cascade Mountains of North America. At her Wee Cottage Art Studio blog she shares the sensational view of her home this spring. Pablo at Roundrock Journal is reporting some sort of Blackhaw blooming in the Missouri Ozarks, USA.
In the Eastern Ontario Highlands of Canada, Cate (Kerrdelune) of Beyond the Fields We Know shares New Leaves, and Sumac in Spring. History Mike of Toledo, Ohio, USA reflects On the Brilliance of Spring Colors. And Karen of Rurality reveals the secret life of roots in North Central Alabama, USA.
Trees and forests have marvelous powers of regeneration, and Silver Valley of Kellogg, Idaho, USA is experiencing its second chance. Silver Valley Girl shares one of her Silver Valley Stories with a promising ending. Meanwhile, back in the holler Cady May in Hartsville, Tennessee, USA shares Random Acts of Recovery of an Oak Tree.
GreenmanTim is still Walking the Berkshires (and Litchfield Hills) of the Housatonic Valley in northwest Connecticut, USA. If you haven’t read the good news elsewhere, be sure to visit GreenmanTim reporting on ElmWatch: Restoring the American Elm.
At Dias com árvores, Manuela DL Ramos of Porto, Portugal reflects on trees with “Every breath you take.” And Pedro Nuno Teixeira Santos who writes A Sombra Verde from Covilhã, Serra da Estrela, Portugal, shares Sozinho (Viagens II) for this month’s festival. A Sombra Verde welcomes its readers with the following:
"A culture is no better than its woods" Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-1973).
You’ll notice that my list is still limited to just a few places around the world – if your region wasn’t mentioned, be sure to tell us about your local trees (and tree blog posts) in the comments below! (And of course, send your links in for next month's festival).
Art and Poetry
Originally I created the Brainripples blog to keep tree discussions separate from discussions on writing and art. Today I am enjoying an excuse to blend the two by sharing some of the artistic meditations I found online. Trees and artists go together like peanut butter and strawberry preserves!
Connie Tom of A Painting for You! posted A Walk Through the Woods IV. Ester Wilson of Daily Drawings has been especially inspired by trees lately. Be sure to explore each of her offerings: doodles and paint, moleskine trees, painting ideas, and her collaboration project with James of Oil Covered Hands.
At The Clarity of Night, Jason Evans stays true to his reputation for making his readers stop and reflect with his creative writing piece Rings, and his thoughts on the Wild Black Cherry (Prunus serotina).
Deborah Barlow of Slow Muse shares What is Unfolding ("Beginners" by Denise Levertov), and the eloquent Bernita Harris of An Innocent A-Blog helps inspire some mystery for the Festival with A Tree's Ghost.
Melanie of Pink Lemon Twist provides us with a unique incorporation of tree forms in art with her Hanami stole. I was intrigued not only by the delicate design so true to the cherry blossom form, but by the symbolism incorporated into the weave itself.
At Idle Minutes, Don West shares a Tree Study. In his comments, Don identifies the true root of the Art and Poetry segment of our Meditations: artists across media are inevitably inspired by trees, and it all starts with careful looking and patient listening.
Wit, Whimsy, and Whatnot
I must have been on a common wavelength with Maureen at Timothy’s Shop Talk who shared some meditations on trees with a helping hand from Hermann Hesse.
Jorge Daniel Neves writing Jardinando sem parar from Lisbon, Portugal shares the enthusiasm for the Festival de árvores sobre, árvores em cimento by providing a continuation of “trees in the concrete” theme of the Festival of the Trees 11 at Flatbush Gardener.
Karen Shanley, an Author Mom with Dogs, tells us all about her Old Friend, and Maggie at Maggieno's Journal paints images with words in One More for the Road, Day Two: Big Trees and Thursday in the Rain Forest. Meanwhile, Cady May is searching for patterns (again) back in the holler.
And if you need to turn your perspective on its head, try climbing up a tree and looking down on the world with Dobster at the Travel Blog. Dobster shares a climb with the Gloucester and Bi-centennial trees of Pemberton, Western Australia.
As you wander your corner of the world this weekend, be sure to take a moment to look up, listen for the wind, and meditate on those trees which you have known and loved.
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Next month’s Festival of the Trees 13 will be hosted by Wren of Wrenaissance Reflections on July 1, 2007. Send submissions to treefest [at] wrenaissance [dot] com by June 29.
You can also visit the Festival of the Trees coordinating blog to learn more about submissions, festivals past and present, and how to volunteer to host future issues of the Festival of the Trees at your blog.
Special thanks to Joanna Powell Colbert for the use of her image The Tree from the Gaian Tarot for the cover image, and to Kirsten Annette Dillhoff for the use of her photography in today's Festival of the Trees.
The Tree, © 2007 Joanna Powell Colbert
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For all the posts we've shared today, there were dozens more that I simply had to let go (for my sanity's sake). Remember to spread the word about tree blogs, submit to future Festivals of the Trees, and keep on blogging!
**06/04/07 editor's note: Thanks to all our readers today as I have updated the Festival of the Trees to include all the images planned for this issue. I appreciate your patience. Thanks again - JLB