On the Trail

Awhile ago, I took of a photo of an old oak tree that was perhaps misshapen by the elements and because of this, it was fascinating, beautiful to my eye.  I loved the way it bent and twisted and yet reached towards the sky.  Gnarly could be a word to describe it.  I could see the beauty in gnarly although the word, gnarly, doesn’t have a great connotation.

That said, my mind equated it to beauty.  I am neither an experienced nor representational painter.  Yet, this photo image of the tree spoke to me.  I used it as inspiration for my painting of a stylized Tree.  Too many of us think of trees as inanimate, as non-communicative, as unfeeling.

I’m reading a book, Braiding Sweetgrass, by the author, Robin Wall Kimmerer.  She is Native American and her family was shifted from reservation to reservation.  She remembers the Pecan Trees in the various places where she and her family have lived over the generations.  The Pecan Trees–no matter where they are physically located across the country–all produce the fruit, the pecan nut, at the same time.  And, then, they don’t produce for years at a time.  What is gleaned from this fact, is that there is an underground communication system among the pecan trees whereby they concur, regardless of climatic conditions and local geographic factors, to produce fruit.

Fascinating, right?  So walking on a trail by the lake yesterday, I encountered a friend riding his bicycle.  We chatted briefly in a casual way.  Then, out of the blue, he says that he communicates with the trees during his seven mile bike ride around the lake.  That when he moved here many years ago, he was impressed with the trees, their beingness.  That he felt he could turn to them for counsel.
Haven’t some of them, the old growth, been standing here for years?”  He added, “Haven’t they seen the whole human play unfold?”

I was shocked by the synchronicity of my painting and his thoughts on trees.  I responded, “You are weird.”  By that I meant wow, how can it be that we’re both on this tree wavelength.  Today it occured to me how the earth, trees, nature, etc. infiltrate our thoughts and beings when we are receptive.  How they speak through us about what is needed to preserve life on earth.  The conservation efforts, the environmental impetus of a world in jeopardy.  Are these quests all earth and nature-instigated?  Humans think they have these brilliant ideas…but who is our coach and guide?  The earth herself, perhaps.

At some point, maybe we realize that we are the spokespersons for our planet.  At some point, we might remember that we are visitors here. We hope to leave this earth home that we’ve only borrowed, intact and viable for future generations.  And, for the other life forms that exist, survive and thrive here besides humans.

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6 thoughts on “On the Trail

  1. Thanks, Danielle. It Is fascinating about the pecan trees. I’m guessing, based on this, that other trees while standing apart have their own way of communicating. I continue to ponder how to best respond to this “call to action.”

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  2. Christine,
    Love your article, and your and your friends thoughts on trees. They are Beings and companions for me. We have a couple of parks with redwoods who are amazing to sit under. They are good listeners. I’m hoping to spend more time with them to see what they have to say. 😊 I always love when you include your paintings!

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  3. Thanks, Cathy. I’ve missed you here. I love the Redwoods…don’t visit them often enough. Yesterday, I drove part way up the mountain and sat in the forest there. An owl was softly hooting, more like cooing. Have a nice day.

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    1. Christine,
      Since I live in the city and like many others am feeling stressed about current events, I am making a point to get to a park as often as possible. I usually ride my bike to the park, sit under the redwoods that make a lovely canopy as their branches are touching, and put my bare feet on the Earth. I’m getting to do this more as we are imposing a stay at home policy at least for a couple of weeks. More time to paint too! I have passed through your neck of the woods many times and can imagine you walking in the woods and enjoying the view of the magnificent mountain! I love reading your blog! I lost all my inbox email recently so probably missed some of your writings. Many blessings on a beautiful day.
      Love, Cathy

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Always appreciate hearing “your voice”. Gratitude for city parks. Living in San Francisco for most of my life, I have a deep connection with Golden Gate Park. Take good care.

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