Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Festival of the Trees 12 - Meditations

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.

For our Festival of the Trees 12, I encourage you to take a moment to mediate on The Tree from the Gaian Tarot. What do you see? As we wander today’s collection, consider our simple, personal connections with trees and forests outside of environmental politics, policies, and as-yet-unsolved problems.

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).

It’s not difficult to understand why the deceptively simple act of flower viewing can warrant holidays and festivals around the world: cherry tree blossoms are beautiful. Bloggers I found who shared their Hanami experiences this spring seemed no less enthusiastic, as evidenced by their inability to post “just a few” pictures of the blooms.

Jason Truesdell of Pursuing My Passions has a two part series featuring "Hanami in Hirosaki, Aomori, Japan. Be sure to check out both Part 1 and Part 2. Nate and Ruth of Korea! Oh yah, you betchya share Spring in Korea: Yellow sand, beautiful flowers and high emotions.

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.”
Ryan of Northfield Center, Ohio who writes the American Peak blog, visited Washington D.C. while in hiatus in time for the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Back Yards Around the World

This month I wanted to take advantage of the world wide web to help connect us with different places around the world, and the trees that live there.

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.

A genuine tree lover if there ever was one, Salix Tree of the Windy Willow blog from Ireland shares tree blossoms and Tinkerbelle’s Tree. Bitterroot of Bitterroot and Bergamot opens a window to Wisconsin, USA with Tree on a Cliff and Ephemeral beauty. And Claudia Lüthi of Lima, Peru blogging at though trees grow so high... shares the thousand aspects of trees for this month's Festival.

I'm an American, so I suppose it’s natural that I’ll find a lot of links in the US. However, I was fortunate this month to be found by several bloggers in Portugal, who demonstrate their country's true love of the arboreal.

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.

Take A Walk Through Durham Township, Pennsylvania with Kathleen Connally to see The First Grass of Spring, and then stroll over to join Joe Felso of Ruminations as he ponders the Spring Crown.

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

It was my goal to keep this month's festival light-hearted, and I’d like to finish up with a garden salad of musings and other meditations on trees and forests.

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.

Vicky Sawyer Herrala writing TGAW has some disturbing evidence of hungry trees!

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.

If you haven’t been following the treeblog, Ash has some seedling updates, and shows us the equally impressive Plane Tree of Hippocrates.

In the Land of Little Rain, Maureen Shaughnessy shares with us again the trees she has known and loved.

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.

* * *

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.

Want to be alerted of upcoming Festivals of the Trees? Visit the Festival of the Trees coordinating blog or click here to sign up for email notification with Feedblitz.

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.

Thank you to all of today’s contributors, and to Pablo and Dave for keeping the Festival of the Trees alive.

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.

Artists and authors retain their original copyrights for all images and blog posts included in today’s Festival of the Trees 12: Meditations.
Photo credits, top to bottom:

The Tree, © 2007 Joanna Powell Colbert
Rhododendron blossoms, © 2007 Kirsten Annette Dillhoff
White pine branch, © 2007 J. L. Blackwater
Birch canopy, © 2007 Kirsten Annette Dillhoff
Olympic Mountains, Seabeck, WA, © 2007 J. L. Blackwater
Banana Slug, © 2007 Kirsten Annette Dillhoff
Trilliums, © 2007 J. L. Blackwater
Lichens, © 2007 J. L. Blackwater
Mosses, © 2007 J. L. Blackwater
Mystery beech, © 2007 J. L. Blackwater
Larch, © 2007 J. L. Blackwater
Magnolia, © 2007 Kirsten Annette Dillhoff

* * *

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


  1. Lovely festival, and I like the copyright notice at the bottom.

  2. Wow, lot of blogs featured this time. It'll take me several days to have a look at them all!
    Thanks Jade, what a treat. Love the magnolia flower at the bottom of your post.

  3. Thanks from Porto!
    I'm happy to have find here two of my portuguese tree friends ;-)

    Good reading and beautiful discoveries for the next days.

  4. Thanks for using my picture! That is my birth flower! People probably don't know we are sisters huh? Did you get the bee ones I sent?

  5. Jade -- wow! you did an excellent job on this month's Festival. It must be a HUGE slog to get through all the blog submissions. thank you so much for taking the time to put together such a well-thought-out list. I've visited a bunch today, but it will take me weeks to get through all of these links adequately. Good thing the Festival only comes around once a month.

  6. What a wonderful job of showcasing all the posts. Thanks so much for taking the time and effort. Off to click the links for some good reading!

  7. Hi Jade,

    Congratulations for all your efforts to organize this edition of the festival.

    Thanks for the reference to my article and blog. We may write in diferent idioms but we express in the same language...the language of those who love trees.

    All the best for you and your blog.


  8. Kelly, thank you! I'm updating now with more pictures.

    Salix Tree, I always look forward to your festival contributions. It's really a great collection - take your time and meander. :)

    Also, the Magnolia flower is missing the caption, which I am about to add. It's an image by my sister Kirsten Annette Dillhoff, who also enjoys photography! I'll be sure to pass along your compliment.

    Manuela, you are most welcome! I'm so glad that you and your friends found me! Be sure to spread the word.

    Kirsten, thank you for your image contributions for this festival!

    Maureen, while it does take quite a bit of time to review all the submissions and findings, it's a fun job - there's always so much to read, the challenge is not getting sidetracked with all the other cool things to be found out there.

    AuthorMomWithDogs, so glad you could join us for the festival!

    Pedro, many thanks! I absolutely agree - we do indeed share a common ground in trees. So glad you could join in the fun.

  9. Nice photos, Jade! Thanks for all your work in putting this together.

  10. Dave, thanks. It was my pleasure to host again!

  11. Jade, thank you so much for including me in this month's festival, and sharing my story about Kellogg. I look forward to reading all the other posts, and meditate on all the wonderful aspects of trees. Very wonderful presentation!!

  12. Silver Valley Girl, I'm glad to have included your story - it was a pleasant departure from the day-to-day of trees. Thanks so much for sharing!


  13. Wow, I've just discovered the Festival and Arboreality and all these other wonderful lovers of trees. I'm thrilled to discover others out there! I'm so glad you included art links, as that is going to be an important part of my blog as it develops. Beautiful photos.

  14. trees, if you please, greetings, welcome, and happy blogging! I hope you'll submit to upcoming carnivals, and you may even like to host at trees, if you please! You have some lovely work over there.

  15. Wow... this is a Lovely festival. I like this festival. It's really a great collection and also enjoys photography. I Love the magnolia flower. This is Very wonderful presentation. In future of course I will go to the festival of the trees 12 - Meditations. I am very happy to visit your site. thank you for posting and sharing it.


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