Friday, January 8, 2010

Secrets of the trees



One of my many works-in-progress has lots of trees, but I'm revealing no more than that. It is an odd storyline that requires full gestation.

I love trees--walking amongst them, resting under them, balancing on solid, old limbs. I'm compelled to touch bark, and find such variety--hard as stone or soft as flannel, smooth as parchment or rough as a pineapple. Sometimes I pick up fallen leaves and keep them awhile. I found one leaf large as a dinner platter, which is now a crisp, curled giant sticking out of a bookcase.
On a couple of walks, I saw these strange tree groupings. The one on the left is an intertwined oak tree with two different palms--date and queen. I don't know how they inhabit the same space so congenially. Each is massive, separate and yet part of a whole.
The picture on the right shows one tree trunk wrapped around its partner in a woody embrace that lasted until someone sawed them down. Did their arms wrap around each other too? Is there a story in this tragic embrace?

Trees ask so little and give much--nuts, fruits, shade, shelter. They can even make rain. They adjust to the caprices of nature, even if they can't always adjust to mankind. Some withstand howling salt winds; others live in deserts, miserly with their leaves and hording water deep within their bulbous trunks.
The variety is amazing. Banyan trees send roots big as elephant legs down from branches. Mangroves grow in water. There are cypress trees in Mexico that were living when pharaohs ruled Egypt.

What would it be like to burrow deep into the dark earth, searching for nutrients, bringing molecules of life from the dark to light? Or to experience the exultation of reaching up, up, up towards the sun and sky. I'd like my life to be as rooted and glorious as a tree. Or maybe, at least, my writings. Are you fascinated or inspired by any element of Nature?

34 comments:

Sliding on the Edge said...

I thoroughly <B trees. They are a huge part of where I live and why I live here.

This year I planted twelve redwoods in the name of friends and relatives and all of them received a certificate about their tree.

Water inspires me too and I'm thankful for every drop.

Great post.

Laura Canon said...

The sky. I'm always suprised at the amount of time I spend looking at it, watching what's going on.

Rick Daley said...

I love trees. I'm not a church-going type of guy...I get my spiritual fix when I'm out int the woods listening to the winds in the branches and the flow of a creek or river.

I also love cool cloud formations, and I'm a junkie for watching storms roll in!

PS I lurk here a lot ;-)

PJ Hoover said...

Trees are so amazing. I love visiting different parts of the state and country and really noticing the differences.

And nature in general fascinates me, especially during sunset. The world is so beautiful.

Great post!

Melissa said...

I love taking walks in the woods near my house. Something about being near all those trees has a calming effect on me. If it wasn't so cold here, I would be doing that today.

Suzanne Casamento said...

Now I sooo want to read your manuscript!

I'm all about the ocean.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Lee: I think it's awesome you planted 12 redwoods. They are so majestic--their height, their color, their altering of the very air around them. You are fortunate, indeed, to live among them.

Laura: I love the sky, too, especially the shifts in color, clouds, sunrise, sunset, moon. So many amazing variations. Isn't it strange how you never get enough? I can still be stopped in my tracks by glorious sky.

Rick: Hi, fellow lurker.:D I, too, find my spiritual lift in nature. Forests, seashores, lean deserts--they can all move my soul. And, stormclouds? Exciting they are.

PJ: It is a beautiful world. And I'm with you on seeing what is new when I'm in another state or country. Some things are fascinatingly different.

Melissa: I think trees can be calming, too. For one thing, I tend to breath deeply among trees. The air is pure and fresh.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Suzanne: You snuck in while I was typing. I adore the ocean and the forests and the desert. Just get me into nature. But mostly my fix comes from sea and trees.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

More gorgeous pictures, Tricia! I am both fascinated AND inspired by nature. It is impossible for me to view the beauty around us and not feel awed and humbled.

Yvonne said...

Of course. I'm fascinated by nature, period. Trees rank right up there with the Great Lakes and the Oceans and the miracle of one seed stuck in the ground which then grows into a plant that will feed a family for days. I've always been fascinated by that. And nice pictures by the way. Our trees are a little bit dormant at present, to say the least.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Shannon: Thanks! Natural beauty is humbling, for sure. What amazes me is how many people don't seem to really take notice. I hike often and stop to look at a sunset or a hawk hovering or a moon rise. People just hustle on past me, never stopping to give more than a glance at what's around them.

Yvonne: I knew you would be--your writing and blog are infused with nature. That's one reason (besides your awesome writing talent) that I'm a frequent visitor.

Jemi Fraser said...

I love trees as well - such friendly places. Every childhood should be full of them. :)

VR Barkowski said...

Ravishing photos, Tricia! I love trees, too, from the majestic sequoia to the self-effacing scrub oak. But I'm also fascinated by water: oceans, lakes, streams, creeks, ponds. So much so that I'll stop to watch the reflection of a passing cloud in a rain puddle.

Lisa and Laura said...

I love those pictures!! And although I'm not really much of a nature gal, I do get inspired by a clear night sky. Something about the stars remind me of being young enough to believe that anything was possible.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Jemi: I like that--friendly places!
I agree children could only benefit from trees.

VR: Thanks! Reflections in water are amazing.

LiLa: A night full of stars is truly awe-inspiring. When I was a kid I would stare up and be lost in the vastness and wonder of it.

Donna said...

Trees, stars, and boulders, too.

Jade said...

I totally have a tree fetish. I even have awesome tree earrings.

Bish Denham said...

Trees, trees, trees. Add me to the tree-people list. I have blogged about specific trees that were important in my life. I'm also fascinated by rocks and fossils. Both are all over the house.

Liza said...

Water...I crave water, whether it's the ocean, a pond, a lake or a river...I must have it. Sometimes I picture myself living away from the coast, away from major water sources, and I feel myself begininning to starve. I love your picture of the two trees that were hugging before they were chopped down.

storyqueen said...

The second picture reminds me of the Celtic legend of Naoise and Deirdre. Tragic tale (naturally, being Celtic and all) of lovers reunited in death.

Beautiful pictures.

Shelley

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Donna: A world of inspiration.

Jade: Ooooooo! Tree earrings? Tell me more!

Bish: I remember your unusual Christmas tree with live birds. This world wouldn't exist without the chores trees do, of course, but it also wouldn't we as wonderful, would it?

Liza: I feel the same about water, particularly the sea. I love the hugging trees; I'm glad I found them.

Shelley: Gasp! Excitement! I am off to find the story of Naoise and Deirdre. Thanks!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I always love reading your posts. So beautiful and inspiring.
I LOVE nature. Everything I write has many elements of it everywhere. And I have a feeling it will always be that way.
My blog

Suzyhayze said...

Black birds against a sunrise sky.

Every. Little. Bit of it. Nice post!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Karen: Thank you! I love reading yours, too. I think we love some of the same things about this crazy world.

Suzanne: Ah. Did that sunrise come from the drive into the black morning? How fantastic to have the blackbirds spring from that. Now I'm thinking how great that would be in one of your novels.

Yat-Yee said...

What great pics. Trees, alike ocean, make me stop and ponder, and they never fail to restore perspective.

Angela said...

I'm a huge fan of trees in writing as well. I use them often to give the scene texture and mood. Everywhere I go, I look for interesting trees and take pictures of them. many of them end up on my blog and facebook. I think of myself as a collector of trees, lol.

Nice post! Tress have power. They have seen more than we could ever imagine.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Yat-Yee: I love your comment on perspective. That is one of the great rewards of spending time in nature.

Angela: Yay, a fellow tree fan! Two fascinating books you might look for if you're interested: Fantastic Trees by Edwin Menninger and Remarkable Trees of the World by Thomas Pakenham.

Eternally Distracted said...

Argh, I really miss trees on this side of the world. there are a few but they are all fairly sad looking.

Diana Paz said...

Thank you for that imagery-rich post, I loved it. I'm not much for nature usually but you made me want to go out and touch a tree! Thanks for the pictures too. The one with the sawed-down trunks is almost seductive, the way the one tree wrapped itself around the other. Beautiful.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi Distracted, and welcome! I would have a hard time living where there are no trees. I'm sorry you have to. I checked out your blog and, wow, you write fabulous posts.

Diana: Oh, yes, go touch a tree. I know people make fun of tree-huggers, but it really is grounding (and I'm not trying to make a pun) to spend time with trees. Yes, those cut trunks are seductive. I know the mundane answer to why they were cut down is probably that they became unhealthy but, as a writer, I imagine more possibilities.

Robyn Campbell said...

Oh man. I live around a lot of trees. I could not stand it if I didn't have them. Plus the kids have always climbed them. On our farm there is nothing but trees. Well grass too. :-) I wanna stretch towards the sky. Imagine how azure the sky appears to the trees.

How intense, dazzling. And to be so close to the stars. Glorious.

I wanna read your story. Sounds marvelous.

Bethany Mattingly said...

Ooo, your story sounds intriguing. one of my characters has a "thing" for plants that she got from me. :) I love them.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Robyn: Ah. Your farm sounds like paradise. Trees are good for kids, for sure.

Bethany: Ha! Yes, we share a thing for plants.

Nishant said...

Water inspires me too and I'm thankful for every drop.

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