Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with creating a manifesto reflecting wonders, curiosities, and delights currently captivating me – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words.
X is for…
xylophilia – a love for forests, woods, groves
I’m delighted that today, the last Friday in April, happens to be National Arbor Day, Being the tree lover that I am, there can never, in my opinion, be too much praise of trees, and it makes my heart happy that there is a holiday that celebrates them and encourages planting more.
I’m much taken with Rabindranath Tagore’s observation:
“Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.”
Isn’t that a lovely sentiment to hold especially on Arbor Day?
One of the things I most love about Spring is talking walks and watching the trees as they change day by day, week by week. I never cease to be amazed and filled with delight when the trees start budding and then tiny little leaves start unfurling. In that magical seen-only-briefly-only-in-early-Spring color – that luminous yellow-light-infused green.
Of course it’s not just during Spring that my love of trees flourishes – I’m an all seasons devotee. Many years ago I came across the work of Jen Delyth, Welsh artist and author, and her words really helped ignite and deepen my connection and exploration of the magic of trees. She holds that there is three-fold wisdom in trees – the leaf wisdom of change and ever releasing; the wisdom of the branches which is of growth and ever reaching; and the wisdom of the roots, which is endurance and ever deepening.
Although I live in a major metropolitan area in a neighborhood with very small property lots without room for backyard trees, almost every house on our block has a street-side tree. Every day I think of their benevolent presence watching over our neighborhood, holding branch hands across the block, welcoming birds and squirrels, and the occasional errant kite; keeping watchful eyes on all of us. Mostly they’re silent and observant, perhaps frequently in deep meditation, but they whisper in the breeze and dance in the wind, and all of it, all of it, makes me very happy.
It wouldn’t be Arbor Day without tree planting, but it’s too cold to actually plant and as I’ve said, there is no room here. So I participate each year by donating to charities who do plant trees, and if that’s a possibility and interest to you, I encourage you to do so as well if you’re inspired. But I do offer a caveat to consider. Know your charity. Many tree-planting organizations hide the fact that when they plant tree seedlings, they go into locations where they may or will be logged for profit or coppiced. I want to think any trees I plant will be a blessing to the environment and our beautiful Earth for a long, long time.
Tree planting thoughts aside, another fun way to celebrate Arbor Day might be to check out TreeWhispers. It’s a lovely on-going project initiated back in 2000 by artists Pamela Paulsrud and the late Marilyn Sward, gathering round, handmade papers from participants around the world. Each piece of paper offers a memory of a tree or tree story. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to contribute.
I think I well understand the ecstatic words of Hafiz:
“The forest, letting me walk amongst its naked limbs, had me on my knees again in silence shouting – yes, yes my holy friend, let your splendour devour me.”
I joyfully admit to xylophilia – I hold trees in great love and appreciation as guardians, ancient wisdom keepers, and deeply-rooted friends.
What about you? If you were going to sit with a tree in conversation what might you say? Have you planted any trees? Love a particular tree, or have a favorite species? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
I adore trees. I’m surrounded by them here and because of the way our house is built on a hillside, when I’m on the second floor I have what I call a squirrel’s-eye view inside the upper limbs of the trees. Granted leaves often obscure what I can see, but it’s nice knowing that trees are outside my window speaking to the heavens above.
Squirrel’s-eye view — now that’s perfect! I love that you’re surrounded by them Ally.
I should’ve known you’d be talking about trees today Deborah.
Unknown to me, my fingers clicked on X even though I’ve been trying to play catch up with your older posts.
Smiled at the image Tagore’s words painted and goosebumped with Hafiz’s: ‘let your splendour devour me.’
When we first moved to Doha, I planted trees in pots: mulberry, neem, ficus and lemon. They did well. Then we moved to a house with enough room in the garden for me to plant those potted trees in the ground. You should see how my babies have grown in less than 2 years. It rained mulberries this spring. And the fig is bearing branches full of fruit. I will have to stop, or like a proud parent who shows 546 photos of their kid to the unsuspecting fellow traveller on a train, I will go on and on.
Thank you for this lush post.
LOve the artwork too.
X is for Xavier’s college canteen
Oh Arti, my heart delights at visioning your lush, and clearly very happy, trees. Raining mulberries and feasts of figs – how fabulous! I bet you won’t mind if I request you have one of those figs with me in mind. 🙂
Thanks John. I’m of the opinion any X word we can come up with is a good one.. 🙂
Nice word, Deborah. Rolls off the tongue easily. I’ve taken a few pictures of the moon like the one you show. Happy Friday!
I always enjoy your moon photos Janet. Sunday will be bringing us our next full moon so keep the camera handy.
I love all trees, and they surround me in Western Washington. I don’t know that I have a favorite.
How wonderful Margaret – and yay to loving them all.
Right up my alley, too! Glad to know there’s a word for my feelings.
And an x word no less Beth!
Hi Deborah – a very appropriate word for me out here … a zillion of them here! But excellent word – not sure I knew about Xylophilia … now I do … and much needed! Cheers Hilary
Zillions sounds like a perfect number to me Hilary.
Yes! Yes! Yes! My name is Yamini and I am a xylophiliac!!! &*> xx
xlophilia – a word I can pronounce! I am a lover of trees and now that we’re in autumn I’m watching the leaves change colour and how the trees look in the different shadings as light becomes less.
The quotes are wonderful Deborah. And I love Jen Delyth’s words about the leaves, the branches, the roots. And of course there’s The Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden .. 🙂
Happy Arbor Day! And thank you for this lovely post.
Autumn is such a lovely time Susan – with the trees putting on their finery and the light moving into its best nuances.
Today I was looking through a book of Klimt’s work and was drawn, not surprisingly, by his Tree of Life. While I would love to see his painting, which was a study, I would really love to see it as the mosaic.
Outstanding X word and post, Deborah. Ecuador has been working on rehabilitation of many areas, including replanting native trees in areas where they were over-harvested. Much of the coast used to be filled with mangrove trees before humans decided to live there. Now there are areas with new plantings and trees that are establishing themselves. A mangrove area in Puerto Lopez has nesting birds in the trees so I suppose in one sense, it is already a success.
Emily In Ecuador
That really is good news Emily!
beautiful beautiful beautiful
xylophilia – did not know this word – thank you for the introduction
your love shines thru
I love the synchroncity of X – xylophilia that you chose and arbor day..
Thank you Sandra. I liked that arbor day lined up so conveniently, but truthfully, any day is a good day for celebrating trees in my book.
New word! I love it. I’m a xylophilia, too, though I didn’t know the word until today. Thank you for commenting on my blog so I would learn it!
And I appreciate you stopping by to say hello. It’s always a joy to meet a kindred lover of trees and forests and all the woodsy goodness in this world.
I love trees and I am happy to live next to a huge public park in the middle of Baltimore where I can walk among them whenever I have the time. This reminded me that it has been a while since I have done so. The quote at the beginning reminded me of the wind blowing through the trees. Perhaps the heavens talking back?
Public parks can be such a treasure and yours certainly sounds like one. I hope you get a chance to do some tree visiting soon.
I absolutely love the idea of the wind as messenger – totally delights my heart!