Happy Arbor Day!
There can never be too much praise of trees in my opinion, and I delight in a holiday that celebrates them.
As Basho said:
It was with awe
That I beheld
Fresh leaves, green leaves
Bright in the sun.
One of the things I love about Spring is taking walks and watching the trees as they change day by day, week by week. Every year I think I’ll make a project of it, photographing certain trees (or every tree depending on my ambition) but I’ve never gotten around to it. I just look with my eyes, and delight when the trees start budding and then the leaves start unfurling. I never cease to be amazed – it feels so incredibly magical. And that Spring green – that luminous yellow-infused green that appears ever-so briefly is one of my favorite colors. I swear when I see it I literally feel my heart chakra open.
For some reason I’m feeling particularly drawn to cherry blossoms this year. I can’t say we actually have any cherry blossoms in bloom here yet, but at least the temps are moving in the right direction so my faith is renewed that Spring might actually be getting back on track. I was amused to read that for the Japanese cherry blossoms signify beauty, purity, simplicity; but for the Victorians they indicated deception. I’m fascinated by those kind of contradictory perceptions. Both because they’re curiously interesting, but also because they are such obvious reminders of how beliefs lock us into limited ways of seeing. I’m not sure I’m expressing that very clearly, but I think part of what I’m saying is that it’s interesting to listen to stories so you can then let go of them and experience the expansion of no-story. Hmm, I bet that’s not any clearer is it? But those existential kinds of queries aside, I thought in today’s celebration of trees I’d mention a few books I love.
The Night Life of Trees
This has to be on of my all-time favorite books. Brief little folkloric descriptions accompanied by gorgeous illustrations that are hand-screened prints on black paper. I love the publishers – Tara Publishing – they have a wonderful vision/mission and are producing some real treasures.
Bark: An Intimate Look at the World’s Trees
There are seriously amazing photos in this book, and if you don’t fall in love with trees even more after seeing these photos than I reserve the right to be utterly perplexed. I’m filled with delight ever single time I open this book.
Stikky Trees: Learn to Recognize at a Glance the 15 Most Common Trees in the United States
I think it’s the concept of this book that I like the most – “Stikky” books use a pattern-based system to help you master learning. I found this hugely helpful years ago when I was first trying to identify trees, which I clearly had not mastered when I was younger. Admitted it’s only 15 trees, but it’s really helpful, and helps set up a way of looking that I’ve found useful in extending to other trees as well.
It wouldn’t be Arbor Day if I didn’t mention tree planting as well. I live in a very urban area on a tiny piece of property that’s so small there’s no real room to plant a tree, other than the tiny rose tree I have. So I like to do planting by proxy – donating to those charities and organizations that will plant trees for me, and in ways that aid the environment. This year I’ve chosen Plant-It-2020.
What about you? Have any tree stories to share? Books to recommend? Tree love to spread? Please leave a comment – you know I love to hear from you!