2018 Spring | Earth-Love Newsletter
THE WISDOM OF TREES
Since I was a child, I have always been drawn to trees (see poem below.) Diana Beresford-Kroeger is a botanist, microbiologist, and preserver of trees, who reveals some of trees’ many astonishing properties with wisdom, passion, and an unrivaled knowledge of their vital and irreplaceable value to us and to Earth. Diana also offers us ways to contribute to the trees’ wellbeing in our humble lives, as does Claire Dubois, founder of TreeSisters.org. I highly recommend a glorious, dynamic interview of Diana speaking with Clare at this link.
Diana Beresford-Kroeger has also written some wonderful books, and I find her DVD, CALL of the FOREST: the Forgotten Wisdom of Trees, profound and healing.
Two friends from London responded to February’s Newsletter (you can see it at this link.) Lesley wrote: Thank you so much for posting the link to ROC’s documentary. It is so powerful. I have not had the joy of witnessing a nature spirit but I did experience, many decades ago, a complete merging with a tree. I was looking out at my beautiful, old garden – the first that I had had the joy of working in. I suddenly saw a figure crouched on a branch of the lilac tree. I felt it was me, and suddenly I melted into the tree. It was one of the most powerful physical sensations I have ever had. I felt the movement of transpiration pounding through the tree, drawing it up from the roots, through the trunk and out through the leaves. It was not an experience of hypersensitivity to the tree, it was as if I was totally immersed IN the tree. For many hours afterwards, with every tree that I looked at my ‘body’ flew to the very top of the trees. I have never taken drugs, so it was not a drug induced experience and there is no way that such a powerful physical experience could have been my ‘imagination’.
We are currently accepting submissions of your Earth-Love experiences to be published in an upcoming issue. Perhaps, you could take 5 minutes to jot down one of your experiences or send a photo with a short commentary to this link. Thank you so much.
Almuth shared this photo and experience. “There was a moment when walking on Wimbledon Common, when the light hit a puddle and made it into a circle of bright light.”
I see him clear— skinny-ribbed, dark
curly hair— the dried out ditch
for a dare. He shinnies up a pine
higher, higher under the pelting sun
until thinning limbs sway and I worry
for him as his mother did. Yet he keeps
going and calls down in laughing peels,
Hey, look at me! I can see so far!
Now to climb down. Heart pumping,
he feels for toeholds while gripping
branches so slipping feet can burrow
in a fold— a shifting, temporary home.
He jumps the last few feet and lands
on the ground, brown eyes longingly
glance back. How far I’ve fallen
from that child’s heights!
But still he wings in me—love
of trees, life teeming all around,
that fecund wealth within—their quiet
power, rollicking waves of rhyme
sponged from his mother’s tongue,
the grief I feel for fallen friends—
the oak, the bay—brought down
by endless, whining teeth.
A thousandfold our bodies twine
with trees, trees’ spirit twinned
and breathing in our own― in sunlit
limbs, in somber silhouette,
in the spirited unseen women
and men who plumb the depths
of rooted night to water seeds
with light through open, pulsing hearts.
Bhavani Judith Tucker, a friend from Northern California, shares her joy and connection with stones:
When I go to the hardscape dealer to find stones that will be appropriate to paint, I look at the huge bin, considering which to select. I feel them come alive with my presence and intention, and I hear them call to me: “Take me! Take me! I’m tired of being gray all my life! I’m so much more vibrant than I appear to be!” I picture each basalt form in front of me living for 10,000 years or more in a river bed in Mexico. Unable to move unless the water carried it onward, or a fish or frog or foot jostled it, each stone sat in silent observation of the life around and above it. Birds flew overhead, chattering and singing and calling. Fish of all sizes and colors swam by. Flowers leaned over the edge of the river and splashed brilliant color through the water. Thunder and lightning, summer wildfires, sunrises and sunsets, the full moon and the sparkling stars…all left an impression on the vibrational essence of each stone.
After holding many, I choose 50 to bring home. I sit at my kitchen table, identify one stone that is insistently making its presence known, and place it in my palm until it becomes warm. I caress the surface and examine it for indentations, cracks, holes and other features that distinguish it from all the others. As I hold it, I begin to get an impulse, without an image…just a vivid quickening of life within, and I begin to look at paint colors and brushes until one of each calls to me. Cracks and holes get filled with gold, and the next step begins…a deep communing. The brush moves, more colors are selected, I’m lost in the alchemy of transformation and communication from one being to another.
I stop and look at what has been deposited on the surface of the stone and marvel at the vitality, intensity, and clarity of what had been harbored within the apparently “inanimate object”…a flock of birds, an explosion of gases and flame, a leaping dolphin, a meadow of wildflowers…and a whisper: “This is who I’ve been all along, never seen until now.”
To see more of Bhavani’s work you can contact Bhavani@mygypsyheart.com
The Brook’s Song to Spring
I stumble and slip-slide, spout and leap,
white crest unbridled by winter rains,
curdle and slip-slap, hurtle and skid
down a hail of rocks that clatter and
echo my clamoring chant.
Come, come, bustles the burbling brook
churning under winter’s smitten branches,
green-fresh burstings hover, lilting wings
stream in the sun’s drowsy beams, catkins
sloop festooned with yellow pollen caterpillars.
My surging shadow seeps into the shadows
of winged willows’ sauntering dance, throat
opening buds, excited yelps, humming
Spreadeagled on the road beside, wings
close— unfold— squeeze shut— spring
open. Esme straddling her wooden two-wheeler
spies the note-plucker, looks and laughs, “You
have funny eyebrows!” “Yes, they got funnier
as I grew older.” “Bye,” she warbles, “Bye,
Englishman”and paddles along with her feet
beneath buckeye, willow, bay and oak. Contagion
bubbles. Shadow light ripples.
Where am I reeling, where am I whirling?
My gurgling vigor jingle-dingles, Down
the downy, down by the down, I follow
the hawk’s lone cries to rootlets, adumbral
young ferns unfurling, the wood rat’s elaborate
branched den, ant, weevil, worm— thread my way
past mossy logs, woodpeckers’ nests, rampant
ivy, cow parsnip, leaping brambles, dark green
I gush along my banks with a skipping song,
while forget-me-nots tuck themselves in
ditches, dock and plantain spawn in rills,
shrills rise on penny royal’s sharp aroma ,
hazel wands’ leaves thrust from hidden
eyes, coral bells awkwardly slip out,
shadows flail across puddles, graceful
vultures circle, my simmering sap swirls
its way through your sap.
What a sight! Four hundred goats on the hillside. Some on their rear legs stretching up into the live oaks. Poison oak, coyote bushes, and tall grasses are quickly shorn and mown.
Sarah Minnick, Vegetation and Fire Ecologist, explains that Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) is working with adjacent land owners, two ranches and a school, to help mitigate fire impacts. Each of these is using the goat herd to achieve fuel reduction as well as other goals.
The MCOSD lets the goats browse within 30 feet of people’s yards to give a “defensible space”. They also graze the ridges to prevent fires and enable access for fire-fighters.
The goats eat invasive grasses. Native grasses and wildflowers generally benefit from some grazing. In this county, highly invasive barbed goat grass is being contained using multiple techniques. Controlled burns, says Sarah, have proved the most successful, but are difficult to implement. They also use herbicides at different times of year, but are hoping to reduce this over time, thanks to the goats, weed-whipping, and other treatments.
Barbed goat grass develops a high silica content as it grows and then it becomes inedible. Catching it early with the goats will allow teams to hand-pull the grass later in the season.
Meanwhile, local residents are flocking to enjoy the spectacle. A friend, CarolGriffin, who lives by Terra Linda Open Space, took these photos and a 23 second video of the goats at this link.
“There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground!” (Rumi). We are currently accepting submissions of your Earth-Love experiences to be published in an upcoming issue. Perhaps, you could take 5 minutes to jot down one of your experiences or send a photo with a short commentary to this link. Thank you so much.
(Chapter 4, King James’s version – click for link)
1 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.
2 Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.
3 Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.
4 Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.
5 Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.
6 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.
7 Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.
8 Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards.
9 Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.
10 How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!
11 Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.
We are currently accepting submissions of your Earth–Love experiences to be published in an upcoming issue. Perhaps you could take 5 minutes to jot down one of your experiences or send a photo with a short commentary to this link. Thank you so much.