is for xylo
Meant to be used in the formation of compound words, xylo means wood.
X words are hard enough to find, and one relating to this abecedarium’s theme of flora is no exception. I’m not going to combine xylo with anything, but rather embrace it boldly as the wood it is, and muse a bit about trees.
I have t(h)ree things to share today.
- Something magical:
A brief video by Brett Foxwell entitled WoodSwimmer made from cross-sectional photographic scans of pieces of hardword, burls, and branches. Oh my!
- Something profound:
Hermann Hesse was a poet, novelist, and painter, constantly exploring one’s authentic nature, self-knowledge, and spiritual issues. He had a deep love for trees, and I think what he says about them is both beautiful and a powerful invitation to live in sovereign wholeness.
“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. . . . Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.”
- Something artistic:
Artist Katie Holten, too, has a love of trees. Filling pages with tiny sketches of New York city neighborhood trees, she began to notice how they looked like they were telling stories, or appeared to be some secret code. From that point of inspiration, she created a tree type font. Every letter is represented by a tree – A is for apple, B is for Beech, etc. You can see it here.
She then used the type to create a book entitled About Trees. It’s a wonderful anthology of eclectic writing about trees, gathered from all sorts of sources, all kinds of authors. For each piece of writing, she does a “translation” – rewriting the original work into her tree front, thus creating tree art. For some of the longer pieces, the tree writing begins to look like huge mysterious forests.
I find the book appealing on so many levels – the gathering of eclectic writing about trees; the beauty of the tree font, which turns everything into a foreign language like secret coded messages. And I just love that such creative explorations exist – inspiration followed and beauty results.
And that’s what I have to say about xylo. Do you have something tree-related to share? Are you fascinated with secret codes? Like to listen to trees? Do tell – you know I love to hear.