TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Posts tagged “Trees

The Spirit of Snow

The Spirit of snow

highlights the love of line

the loving grace of trees in winter

bare and spiritual

the horses a gift of color

in otherwise black and white


What the Trees Say

Feather trees whisper a blessed new year to you all!


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Nearly Gone

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Spirit in Summer

Summer spirit

whispers to

the lowly weeds

dances round

the graceful trees

and sends peace

to pacify

an observant cow

 

 


A Barn in Winter

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Bare branches
yearning towards
turquoise sky
with fast floating
sunlit white clouds
white above
white below
the snow
hides the land
of insects
and mice
and moles
and snakes
and in the vernal pool
next door
turtles sleep
in their hernaculum
while frogs lay
dormant in the mud
I sit in sleepy
surrender
glad to be
in our little hideaway
in the woods
of our young dreams
wondering
if we will all
awaken
to another Spring.

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The Trees of Winter

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Every year what budded in autumn blossoms full blown in winter– my love affair with trees.  Trees that were drop-dead gorgeous in their fall colors are now bare, with the exception of evergreens and a few stray deciduous trees that refuse to relinquish their leaves.  Now the trees are stripped down to their souls and their souls sing a siren song to the universe.

The tops of trees lift my spirit; brushlike they paint the sky the baby pinks and blues of mornings,  and the majestic magentas and violets of day’s end.  Each tree has its signature shape against the sky, like a fingerprint or a snowflake, similar yet each unique.  Some treetops in their bare state are shaped like a fancy coiffure; others look like wrought iron filigree.  On distant mountains, against the snowy ground, some look like stubble on an old man’s unshaven face.

It is the colorful winter sky showing through, and showing off, the bare branches that woos me.  The bare curvaceous branches are stark, dark lines against the bright of day and the inky sky of  night.  These resplendent creatures are living lines that explode.  Branches tangle like the lines in a Jackson Pollock painting.  Others  curve in the sensuous lines of a Brancusi sculpture.  Buxom tree trunks stand strong surrounded by their dead blossoms and their burgeoning offspring like a Renaissance Madonna. In truth these trees are not like art at all.  Rather art imitates them– their beauty provides the timeless inspiration for artists, writers and poets of all ages and styles.

Trees not only inspire, they themselves are paragons of diversity.   One look out of a car window while driving on the Taconic and one can see squat pines alongside towering majestic firs, birches interspersed with maple and oak.  And together the different brown and tan barks interspersed with evergreens create not only a mosaic of contrasting colors, but display an example to inspire humans to live together in peaceful unity.

These beneficent beings carry the heavy, dark grey clouds of winter.  When it snows the tree trunks become canvases for the abstract patterns of windblown-snow, while the serpentine branches are outlined in white.  In ice storms their branches become chandeliers, each enveloped in glassine ice.  While in the melancholy of a winter rain, the branches become oiled skins of snakes weeping to the ground below. And finally, in the night sky, the branches hold the stars in their arms, those with leaves holding them in their hands, as they nurse the moon.

All trees,  no matter what their species, age or height, stand tall in proud humility, their arms reaching up to the Heavens to our Creator in prayer–  soft-spoken beings of peace and tranquility towering over us, while the little creatures race around distractedly below.

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Reaching for the Stars

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“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree… a tree that looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray.”  The opening lines of the poem,“Trees,” by Joyce Kilmer.  Indigenous peoples through the ages have talked of tree spirits and trees as wise ones.  Trees are striking as they permanently lift their arms to the Heavens in seeming prayer, day and night in communication with the Creator, their outstretched arms reaching for the stars.

Reaching for the stars.  The image calls to mind a dance of the Kalahari Bushmen who were featured in the movie “The Gods They Must be Crazy.”  The Kalahari, the last men born of the Stone Age culture according to Laurens Van Der Post, have no sense of individuality and so share all they have. They have a dance of gratitude which Van Der Post describes in his book entitled “A Mantis Carol”: “I never see their dancing without feeling deeply moved and utterly irreverent and blasphemous because of our own incapacity for acknowledging what life will give if only we will let it in.”  And then there is their dance of the “great hunger,” a dance that says we do not live by bread alone, a dance at life’s end fraught with longing, with arms outstretched taughtly towards the Heavens as they reach for the stars.

My grandfather reached for the stars.  He came to the United States, a 16-year-old peasant stonecutter from the mountains of Sicily, knowing no English.  He wound up carving the Lincoln Gettysburg address at the Lincoln Memorial in DC.  While working on the Gettysburg Address he studied English at night school.  I remember him telling me how he was the laughing stock of his fellow stone cutters because, inspired by Lincoln’s words, he carved his initials at the top of the monument, “A.L.” for Anthony LaManna (and, of course, for Abraham Lincoln), followed by: “Attorney at Law.”  Working his way through school, he actually did eventually become a VA lawyer.  He reached for the stars and touched them without ever forgetting where he came from.  And he was childlike as he took care of me, as we danced to records on the victrola or as he played the mandolin and sang to me.  I always think of him with a tinge of sadness, for more than anyone, he taught me to reach for the stars.

Reach for the creator– that is what the trees say.  At this time of year I yearn for the days of childhood in which God seemed close.  This yearning fully ripens each year at Christmas/Hanukkah when the people brighten their houses with festive lights.  It is a time of year in which we light up our hearts and look to the heavens and sing songs of love to a babe born not so very long ago, or in which we give thanks for the oil to light the lights of the temple for eight days.  We are all really seeking the love that motivated the Kalahari Bushmen to do their dance.  We are seeking a savior, and yearning for the Light in this overlit, commercialized, complicated world in which the inspiring simplicity of the Bushmen, the peasant, is rapidly disappearing.  And the trees touch my heart in their upward reach for the Heavens.  For at this time so many millions of them are sacrificed as they have become our Christmas trees and Hanukkah bushes, to be discarded after the holidays are over.

May we experience this holy season with a simpler yearning, not for presents and parties and hoopla, but with our hearts full of gratitude, taking lessons from the trees, from the Kalahari Bushmen, from our ancestors, and seek Love, in whatever form it takes in our souls.

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on Amazon


My Cathedral

The wilderness
is my cathedral
Spring Trees at Sunset  (digital photo)
The sky
my steeple
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 The trees
my buttresses
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Hay bales
my statuary
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 Flowers
my stained glass
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A babbling brook
my organ
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Frogs and toads
my choir
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Fields of wildflowers
my incense
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 Thunder storms
my high mass
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A very diverse congregation…

From cows

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to snails and turtles

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to gazillions
of insects

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Deer sometimes come round

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Butterflies abound

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Moths, too

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Birds of every hue

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All that’s missing is you

but you worship your own way

doing charity every day

more than I can say


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Summer Morning


Nature’s Prayers

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Still yourself

and fold your hands

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humbly

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stand in awe

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radiate His light

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with eyes upwards

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towards

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the telephone

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to the sky

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and comtemplate

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the glory that is He


Chi flows, Wind Blows

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Wind blows

through tree tops

bird song

wafts in breeze

flying

dead branches

fine perches

dragonfly on leg

don’t move

admire

just be

like tree

see chi

in air

spark-like

specks

tiny lights

Chi flows

wind blows


The Vibrations of Life

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Pulsating life

flows through

tree branches

vibrating

to the song

of a red-winged blackbird

singing to the moon

as a cloud

stands by

in the approach

of twilight


Verticalia

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Naked trees reach

upwards toward the sky

in pursuit of our Creator

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Trees dressed in flowers

 turn our eyes skyward

to gaze at cottony clouds

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Church towers

carry our sight

to the bright blue heavens

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as we stand

gazing

in unparalleled awe.


“Willow Weep for Me…”

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March Sunrise to Sunset

A tribute to my beloved brother, Tony, who loved this song.


Feathery Fog

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(Click on image to enlarge)

January trees

please and tease

their feather-arms

 tickle the skies

gratify the eyes

 their lattice work branches

the soft, silky brush strokes

of a winter masterpiece


The Silent Cathedral

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Listen

to the silence

of the trees

they communicate

in ways

 science knows not

yet

and

the fog and the snow and the mist

 the incense

suffusing

 the silent cathedral


Marsh in Autumn

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate the holiday!

and

Happy Autumn to those who don’t!

Spare the turkeys!

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The Spiders’ Secret

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A chill wind blows the yellowing leaves off the trees. They drift down to the ground like giant snowflakes. The air is pregnant with the feel of the coming holidays. Fall has truly come, with the sudden drop in temperatures, a full 10-20 degrees cooler than a few weeks ago. This is the real Fall, no faltering Fall, but a Fall that will guide us appropriately into winter. November appears as a mirror image of March with its vibrant color of decay, while March is the decaying color of about-to-burst-forth Spring.

The birds are at the bird feeder all the time now. They are not stopped by our presence when we come to fill the feeder or blow leaves under it. Nothing stops them. They swoop around the feeder and the surrounding trees like Kamikaze pilots, darting here and there recklessly. The squirrels are in a frenzy as well, stock piling acorns and walnuts which they will retrieve without fail in a month or so in a snow-covered land.

To me, the trees are most beautiful at this time of year, when many of them are bare and a scattering of leaves remain on dark brown branches. The leaves that remain quiver daintily in their precarious positions on the tree limbs. Yet these are the survivors. The other leaves have fallen and gone the way all living things eventually go. Most trees have lost all their leaves and they stand in stark contrast against the blue sky, the stormy sky, the grey sky.  But I find them most beautiful against the night sky, with arms reaching up to the darkness, trying to touch the stars twinkling between the branches, as moonlight dances on their limbs.

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November holds the last glimmer of color. A carpet of yellow lines the woods now– and one can see inside the woods that are so dark and impenetrable in summer. Some forests have carpets of oak leaves– dark brown tan in color. Others are paved with variegated colors– vibrant crimsons against yellows and faded greens and tawny tans. The un-mown lawns are now taken over by the spiders covering the fields.  At precious moments, one can see a world of webs that only appears in a certain slant of sunlight and reveal a silent take-over by the spiders in webs that sparkle secretly, mirroring the infinite web of creation.

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The yellow, brown, and crimson leaves are complemented by the ubiquitous yellow, brown and crimson mums that appear on the roadside near mail boxes, on porches or along driveways. These tough little flowers withstand frosty chills and stand tall throughout most of November– hearty, generous souls, so giving in their colorful, velvety splendor.

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Halloween pumpkins begin to sag a bit or shine with wetness as if encased in glass. They will soon be tossed– pine combs, wreaths and fir swags to take their places, and the season of lights will begin. Anticipation hangs in the air. Autumn seems the fastest season to come and go. I try treasuring each moment, but the minute/hours/days just sift through my fingers like so many grains of sand. Then Christmas/Hanukkah comes and fades in a flash and we are into the Nor’Easter blizzards of January. Another year is gone and a new one has come. Would that we could be in forever in the season of love, but it is also a season of loneliness and loss and darkness. It is good we are defenseless against time.

Now, at Thanksgiving, it is our time to give thanks. Inspired by the Native Americans, let us thank the earth. Let us give thanks to the trees for their constantly changing beauty, to the stars for their piercing presence in the night sky, to the leaves for their inspiring colors, to the sun for its life-giving power.  Let us thank the Spring for its awakening hope, the Summer for its warm, thriving growth, the Fall for its beauteous bounty, to the Winter for a time of renewal.  Let us thank the soon-to-come snow for its hushed, white silence that transforms our world, to all the animals for their pure souls, to our families and friends for their precious love, and, lastly, but mostly, to the Higher Power of our belief for the macrocosm of creation.

Happy Thanksgiving and may you each be blessed with the all-embracing, pervasive, pulsating Love in Nature.


Electrified, Giggling Flowers, Talking Trees, and Thanksgiving with Visuals

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Mom told me one day why Dad’s African Violet plants in his office flourished.  “He talks to them,” she said.  “He teases them and tells them jokes.”  That was very Dad.  Once, on a trip to Gloucester, we sat eating breakfast and were admiring a rowboat on the front lawn, planted full to the brim with pansies.  Suddenly it began to rain.  Big drops fell on the pansies and my father insisted he could hear the pansies giggling.  It was then, I think, I thought about the interesting connection my father had with flowers.  Mr. Macho Dad had a soft spot for the flowering plants, well, more than a soft spot, a communication.
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He wasn’t the only one who spoke of these things.  I spent much time in grammar school at the house of my Polish friend whose mother was an artist.  She told us about trees talking and, she used to say, talking to them made her feel happy.  At the time I did not think much of it.  But now, many years later, on walks, occasionally a tree will say something.  Utter a benevolent greeting.  And now, I find myself so in love with trees, I shoot portraits of them constantly, singly or in groups, with their “friends and relations.” P1120427 copy

Any doubts I had about trees communicating were put to rest when I read in this paper, in J.Gordon Douglas’s column in the now defunct Dutchess CountyRegister Herald, about how trees in an area communicate with one another in planning their reproduction strategies for the season or warning each other chemically about caterpillar infestations.  Scientists are not sure how.  Maybe through the roots.

Not only do plants have feelings, they can also generate energy.  See the website by artist, Caleb Charland.  He used apple trees to generate light.  Perhaps one day we will use plants for alternative energy– just another amazing aspect to nature’s ways:

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Of course, hearing them “talk” is a little different.  However, Valerie Wormwood, one of the world’s leading aromatherapists, in her book entitled The Fragrant Heavens, tells us not only does the earth hum but it emits a low frequency radio signal known as the ‘Shumann resonance” and this signal can be detected coming off trees. She relays that researchers in America wanted to know if this signal could be altered by human thoughts or feelings.  They had a group of people circle a tree and say Native American prayers, sending the tree love.  They attached electrodes like those measuring human brain waves to the tree. A response not only registered but the sensors went off the scale.  Clearly some form of communication went on, confirming my Polish friend’s mother’s belief and many others as well. When trees are cut down we are not only destroying the tree we are cutting down and giving it a terminal sentence as firewood or worse, but we are also upsetting all the trees around the “victim.”  The surrounding trees must witness their friend and neighbor being chopped down.  Do they feel outrage, fear, sadness?

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We do know now that they feel something.  Wormwood tell us that in 1966 Cleve Backster, a lie detector expert in New York, had a group of students go into a room with 2 plants next to each other on a table.  One of the 6 students was chosen to “murder” one of the plants, hacking it to bits and then they all left the room.  After the attack Backster attached the lie detector to the “survivor” and had the students enter the room again one by one.  The sensors were quiet as the “innocent” students entered but when the “attacker” entered they started jumping “wildly.”  I think of this as I weed the gardens in the summer. Sometimes we are forced to cut down a tree and we must pick vegetables to eat.  And we have to weed the gardens.  But perhaps it is in how we do it.  If we can express gratitude and appreciation and maybe an apology.  Or if we could ask permission perhaps, as the Native Americans do.  When they take from the earth they give an offering as well. Scan10_edited-1

The Native Americans had the real idea for giving thanks, for thanksgiving.  It was not about stuffing oneself with sweet potatoes and gorging on gravy and turkey.  They gave Thanksgiving to Spirit in the earth, in the trees, in the animals, for whatever they took. Flowers “giggle” and trees “talk”.  If only we would be attuned enough to listen.  Sentient beings surround us and we must follow the lead of the Native Americans at Thanksgiving and give thanks for what we take from the earth, and, of course, from the animal kingdom, and give back something in return.  Even if it is only words, but words with heart behind them, words that understand the sacrifice made by sentient beings for us, words that capture the true spirit of Thanksgiving.


Ode to a Lily

Lily of the Valley (digital photo)

Oh gentle

Lily of the Valley,

bowed down in quiet prayer

 to your Creator,

your humility,

your simplicity

is your beauty.

 ~

How like the trees art thou

who, unlike you,

reach skywards,

while you kneel

with sensuous spirituality

in deference to the Almighty.

~

Oh beauteous

Lily of the Valley,

would that we all were like thee

in thy hushed humility.


Looking for the Light

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In the golden hour

Spring sprouting trees

dainty with bud,

a delicate delight

devoured

by the hungry devotee.


Fleeting Filigree

Moonrise through Filigree Trees

Winter is dying

and dead trees

are coming to life.

Your sap is starting to flow

bringing  forth birthing buds

of spring as

people clammer

for the greenery of summer.

But I love you most

when you are naked, nude, and vulnerable,

stripped bare of  beautiful-to-be sure

spring/summer finery.

I mourn your fleeting filigree

on this snow-showery day

of  comforting gloom and grey

and feel kinship with you

as you stand staunch against the cold

and stark against the feathery flakes of white.

I think you  most beautiful

in your bare-arm-intricacy,

and lace-like, linear patterns

drawn against a back-drop of sky,

as you reach for the Almighty.


Homage to Mondrian

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Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) was a Dutch painter who believed in the spiritual in nature.  His art was an expression of that spirituality.  He believed that the trees, the verticals in nature, were the masculine principle, and the earth, the female.  Together the union of the male and female constituted the beauty of creation.  He started out painting vibrant trees and eventually wound up painting complete abstractions of vertical and horizontals with primary colors– very unlike his early landscape painting, but the underlying principles were the same.