Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More about Trees

On the ridge, Springtime two years ago

Yesterday's post about trees got me thinking about the many stories we tell with trees at their center.

The website Spirit of the Trees hosts a broad collection of tree stories, Started as a resource for the DC Memorial Tree Groves , the site grew to encompass scientific, folkloric, and educational resources in essays, stories and resource links. Storytellers contributed tales, and an extensive list of stories on the web is hosted on the site.

At Beartown Rocks, West Virginia

At the Woodnotes site, you can read Advice from a Tree. Sound advice, I think you'll find. Woodnotes is the site of the Tree People, a unique experiment in preservation in Los Angeles, CA. Go here to read the story of the Sleep Tree from South America.

The oak, of course, is often the topic of tree stories. With reason. The stately, long-lived oak exudes strength, provides deep shade and steady, long-lasting heat when cut, and hardens to a stone-like toughness for use as a building material. Its golden grain graces many pieces of furniture and flooring, and its acorns provided food for the ancient Celts and food and shelter for all kinds of other animal life. Photos of many great oaks can be found at Arcytech.

Marilyn suggested a haunting story called The Armchair of the Tustenuggee from the book Palmetto Stories by Celina Eliza Means. What a tale this is, with a curiously twisted, but satisfying ending.

At Sacred Woods and the Lore of Trees you can find folklore associated with trees of all kinds. What I like about this site (librarian that I am) is her listed bibliography of sources. While she does not tell you where each tree's information came from, she at least supplied the places she consulted for the information provided on her website.

Taken near Sandstone Falls, WV in a driving rain storm in 2007

At egreenway, Michael Garofalo has compiled an incredible bibliography (the librarian strikes again!) along with poetry, quotes, folklore and monthly collections of all the above, all about trees. His site is a little difficult to use, requiring much scrolling, but thee information provided is worth the sore finger.

Here's a poem for March from his site:

"The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven
-All's right with the world!"
- Robert Browning

Amen, Mr. Browning. We've all heard this poem but in early spring, we all need to hear it again.

Around the world from Robert Browning comes the tale of the Sugar Palm Tree, from Indonesian Folklore. "A husband and a wife lived happily in a village. They had two children a son and a daughter. The son’s name was Tare Iluh and the daughter’s name was Beru Sibou. Their happy life ended when their father died." To read the rest, you need to visit the site. I promise it is worth your time.

And from another exotic location comes stories of Papa Bois: "He is the old man of the forest and is known by many names, including "MaƮtre Bois" (master of the woods) and "Daddy Bouchon" (hairy man)." Probably the source of the Cajun stories of Wiley and the Hairy Man? (You can find a reader's theatre adaptation of this suspenseful story of a boy's encounters with the Hairy Man here.)

I will leave you with this thought:

"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself.
- William Blake, 1799, The Letters
A man ahead of his time.

Go outside and enjoy your trees.


Anonymous said...

With so many reasons to enjoy them, how could we not?

Granny Sue said...

True, Amy. Yet how often do we hear people complaining about a tree shedding leaves or fruit all over the lawn, or about having to pick up twigs from the year (I'm guilty there--my water maples drop twigs if a dog sneezes)?

When we had to have our driveway worked on, many old trees had to go. It broke my heart. The dozer guy could not understand why it bothered me when we had acres of trees.

Matthew Burns said...

Granny Sue,

I love these posts, I am very fond of trees as well. I tagged a photo for you on Facebook, you will probably get a notification about it. It is of a tree stump on our old farm. I'm pretty sure it is inhabited by a gnome.

I wish I could post it in these comments, but oh well, blogspot can't offer everything for us, can it?lol.


Granny Sue said...

Thanks, Matthew! I'll check it out. It would be nice if we could put photos and links in the comments.

Susan said...

What a wonderfully linkful and enjoyable post...and now a bookmark.

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