Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Trees and Roots

For we are like tree trunks in the snow. In appearance they lie sleekly and a little push should be enough to set them rolling. No, it can't be done, for they are firmly wedded to the ground. But see, even that is only appearance.
Franz Kafka (totally stolen from Kim’s blog, where part of this post started out as a comment, as well) (and, actually, now that I think of it, another part came from a comment, which I saved, left on somebody else’s blog a long time ago, though I don’t remember what blog it was) (so it goes)

...there’s this huge hemlock tree in the woods...maybe twenty minutes away if I walk fast...just up from ever-tumbling Wissahickon Creek...it's leaning, at maybe a thirty degree angle, at the top of this kinda embankment-type hill that looks like it’s been crumbling for a long time, despite long-ago efforts to shore it up with a stone wall...a number of smaller trees and rocks looking like they’ve fallen somewhat recently...but its roots are gripping onto a big rock jutting out from the hillside....the question is, how strong is the tree’s grip? and how well anchored is the rock?

Roots are strong.
Gary Snyder

...vrksasana...tree pose in English...involves balancing on one foot...a yoga teacher once told me it’s about staying rooted and confident, no matter how the winds might blow or how unsteady you might feel...

...in the courtyard of my building, there were four huge oaks, each at least a century old... forming a gigantic rectangle...a month or so ago, some men came and cut one of them down...no explanation....most likely, there was imminent danger of the tree falling on the building...and, no doubt, a tree that size could do a lot of damage...so I couldn’t complain...nonetheless, I feel sad whenever I see the stump there and realize that, even if somebody plants a seed tomorrow, it'll be at least a century...long after I'm dead and gone...before there'll be another one like it there...

...I wrote that a while ago...unrelated to trees or symmetry, last night I gave the management notice that I’m moving...just down the street, but moving nonetheless...

9 comments:

Lana Gramlich said...

I feel a similar kind of melancholy with the loss of trees. In some cases, they've become such fixtures in one's life that they're almost like friends. Hard to lose such steadfast & slow-growing friends.
Good fortune with your move!

Aggie said...

I think the chopping down of a tree that pre-dates us makes us feel our own mortality. Therefore we become sad that the passage of time ravages all things. Trees in particular because with their roots and constant seasonal changes, they seem rather invincible. None of us are immune.

Deborah Godin said...

This post, particularly the part about the old oaks, reminded me of something. I thought I'd pass it along to you in case you hadn't seen it.
http://www.longnow.org/projects/clock

Kim said...

When I first read that quote I had a total blonde moment (and I'm not even blonde) where I thought "I've heard that quote before somewhere..."

I'm always sad when I see tree stumps, especially the bigger ones. To think of what that tree weathered in its day.

Renee said...

Trees are beautiful and symbolic for so many things: age, wisdom, breadth, depth, strength and so much more. What a great analogy, to compare yoga to something as analogous as a tree. Great post!

Kikolani said...

Sometimes it amazes me how some battered, older trees stay rooted during the monsoon season winds, but younger trees that look like they are perfectly healthy are torn out of the ground.

~ Kristi

Lydia said...

Moving where there are nice trees, I hope. In the downtown area of my town there is a beautiful Victorian home that had a century old Oregon White Oak in front. Last winter it gave way into the street during a particularly hard windstorm. Oh how I miss it when I go by. We looked at old videos recently, of the town's annual pet parade, and saw people sitting under its spreading boughs that stretched well over a half-block. Sad.

earthtoholly said...

A nice post, drjay.

I'm also saddened by the unnatural loss of our leafy friends. I understand they need to be removed sometimes for safety reasons, but turning every patch of earth to put up another housing complex or mall kills me. Not only are the trees killed but the wildlife is displaced. Ugh.

Drjay, Mark over at Photographic Aspect has beautiful pics of Bristlecone Pines and a Monterey Cypress, if you haven't already seen them.

earthtoholly said...

p.s. Have fun with your move! I know, I'm a freak...I like moving!