Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘tree’

The First Treehugger

A tall tale from Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

The redwoods in Asia, being especially tall, were a favorite of Abbott Tova. She loved to climb as high as she could and observe life from above. She saw wildlife, people in the village, travelers on the road, and her sisters in the community below. Seeing that her excursions climbing the ancient ones were made in secret, she often witnessed events and scenes that others were not aware of.

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One day, she saw a herd of rampaging river otters approaching the village and was able to scamper down the tree and go warn people of their approach just in time. Many lives were saved. Some thought the Abbott must be clairvoyant for knowing of the approaching otters, not knowing of her climbing feats.

On another day, the Abbott watched a bandit attack a lone farmer on the road and steal his money. She knew who the bandit was and was later able to assist in his capture and testify at his trail, as to what he was wearing that day and at what time it had taken place.

There was the time Abbott Tova saw Sister Kiva sneaking off with Sister Bhakti to make love in the meadow. In that case there was no need to do anything, other than turn her attention elsewhere.

As was the case with Abbott Tova’s ability to remain still and blend in with her surroundings in the garden for hour upon hour, so it was in the trees where she often lost track of time and became so engrossed and selfless that she could feel the sap flowing through her veins and her limbs transferring the sun’s light into energy through her skin.

Without it being called so at the time, Abbott Tova was the first known tree hugger. Her actions gave rise to a long line of environmentalists and forest advocates, including, Pocahontas, Johnny Appleseed, John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, Chico Mendes, Wangari Maathai, and Julia “Butterfly” Hill. It also gave her a great advantage in “seeing” the future, making predictions, and others believing she was omnipotent, which she would never deny, nor confirm.

More vast and small stories at: Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

The Ancestor Tree

The Ancestor Tree

I made this as a gift. It consists of a large sanded and polished piece of red granite, with a tree carved from Italian white ice alabaster. The tree is placed on top of the granite and can be turned in various directions, depending on one’s preference. The tree began as an attempt at an angel, but part of it broke off and revealed its true essence.

The rainbow light from the sun hitting the stone has a beautiful effect. You can see clearly through the stone when held up, though it was difficult to get such a shot without it being too bright.

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Rwandan Holiday

From ROP Stories
Rwandan Orphans Project
Center For Street Children

by Sean
16 January 2012

A Christmas to remember at the ROP

Just as in the U.S. and Europe Christmas is a huge holiday in Rwanda. It’s a time for families and friends to come together and enjoy each other’s company, eat a lot of food and perhaps exchange gifts. It’s no different at the Rwandan Orphans Project. In recent years Christmas has been celebrated at the ROP Center by sharing a meal on Christmas day, usually followed by some performances of song and dance from our boys. This year, however, we wanted to give them the best Christmas they’ve yet had. We received some very generous Christmas donations from various people that helped us with this idea. We expected this to be a Christmas to remember at the ROP.

Christmas Eve was a day for celebrating with the staff, children and visitors. Jenny started off the day by having the boys make decorations for the Center. Some of them stuck to the design while others just stuck pieces anywhere and everywhere.

After the tree was well adorned we decided to give the boys an early Christmas present. We had many “new” clothes that had been donated by various visitors during the previous few months and we had been saving them for this day. As is the tradition we laid all of the clothing on the floor of the dining hall so all the boys could see what they had to choose from. As you can imagine each boy eyes the item he wants and hopes that nobody else chooses that item before their turn comes.

Of course we have to make sure that they fit before they take them. Often the younger, smaller boys choose clothes that are much too big for them simply because they like their design. This leads to the occasional round of tears when a small child is told he cannot have a sweatshirt that is meant to fit an adult.

After all the boys had chosen their clothes we had a treat for them. Elisabeth, the ROP’s staff psychologist, is good friends with a very well known Rwandan artist called Ben Gangi. She asked him to come and perform for our boys as a Christmas treat and he accepted. From the moment he started singing the boys were dancing all over the dining hall and singing along at the top of their lungs.

Read entire story and see all the photos at ROP Stories.

Powerful Roots

From Nation of Change
by Bryan Farrell
7 January 2012

Embracing Tree Huggers: The Powerful Roots of (Un) Armed Environmental Protection

Show the slightest bit of concern for the environment and you get labeled a tree hugger. That’s what poor Newt Gingrich has been dealing with recently, as the other presidential candidates attack his conservative credentials for having once appeared in an adwith Nancy Pelosi in support of renewable energy. Never mind that he has since called the ad the “biggest mistake” of his political career and talked about making Sarah Palin energy secretary. Gingrich will be haunted by the tree hugger label the rest of his life. He might as well grow his hair out, stop showering and start walking around barefoot.

But is that what a tree hugger really is? Just some dazed hippie who goes around giving hugs to trees as way to connect with nature. You might be shocked to learn the real origin of the term.

The first tree huggers were 294 men and 69 women belonging to the Bishnois branch of Hinduism, who, in 1730, died while trying to protect the trees in their village from being turned into the raw material for building a palace. They literally clung to the trees, while being slaughtered by the foresters. But their action led to a royal decree prohibiting the cutting of trees in any Bishnoi village. And now those villages are virtual wooded oases amidst an otherwise desert landscape. Not only that, the Bishnois inspired the Chipko movement (which means “to cling”) that started in the 1970s, when a group of peasant women in Northeast India threw their arms around trees designated to be cut down. Within a few years, this tactic, also known as tree satyagraha, had spread across India, ultimately forcing reforms in forestry and a moratorium on tree felling in Himalayan regions.

Read entire story at Nation of Change.

Do you ever lie?

Excerpt from Feral by Deena Metzger

Do You Ever Lie?

The woman settled back again against the tree but more carefully this time. Careful, that is, about what was in her mind. And this led her to wonder what in fact was in her mind. Was there anything in her mind that belonged to her? Or was everything in her mind something she had gathered or been given by others? Was there anything in her mind about the girl and what they were doing there together that was her own thought? Was her mind her own or did it belong to others?

It was a May afternoon. She was sitting under a tree. The girl had clearly decided there was nothing better to do. At this point, she almost faltered again by thinking of how the girl had brought her to this extremity. For it was extremity. Sitting in the damp of someone else’s piss was not extremity; she’d suffered many inconveniences and discomforts for others’ sakes over the years. But sitting at the base of a tree with no intention of doing anything else, this was for her an extremity.

And what was in her mind that was her own? That she wanted the girl to come down. To come down to her. To come down to her for her sake. For her own sake. She wanted the girl to come down for her own sake because she wanted to be with the girl. Yes, the girl had appeared at the right time. She had come exactly at the time the woman was considering becoming an animal.

“That’s better,” the girl said.

“How do you know? Why do you presume to know what I’m thinking?” the woman shouted into the leaves with as much wonder as irritation.

“I don’t know exactly what you’re thinking, only if you’re thinking about me, about yourself or about something else. Sometimes I know more, sometimes I know the shape of your thinking. You were thinking about you. You were thinking about changing shapes. You were thinking about being a shapeshifter.” The girl’s tone had shifted to the murmur of kindly musing. Revealing herself as she was considering the woman. For the briefest moment, the woman could see the girl clearly. Girl, leaves, branches, sky, clouds were all distinct. The girl was not deliberately obfuscating the situation.

“You want to be someone else. You want to be like me.”

Was this indeed true? Had the woman dared such a thought? Was she,
herself, considering that such activities might be for her?

The girl laughed. “I just made that up. I don’t ever really know what you’re thinking.”

“I think you do know what I’m thinking.”

“I don’t know a lot about thinking. It shifts too fast. Thinking doesn’t have any substance to it. Do you know what I mean?”

“Do you ever lie?” The woman believed that the girl would answer this
question truthfully and she thought she needed to know the answer.

“No.”

What did the girl mean by such a no? The girl’s answer implied that the question was unthinkable but not on moral grounds. To lie would be, the woman assumed the girl meant, unnatural, but the girl would not use such categories. The woman did use such categories and was constantly
concerned with trying to discern the natural from the unnatural.

“You are going to give me a headache if you keep thinking so much. Your thoughts are like splatter shots, you follow one line and then you have to follow another. It’s so arbitrary. You’ve got a brain,” the girl said, “like a Jackson Pollack painting.”

Then the woman remembered that among other things, the girl was a
painter. And wasn’t really a girl, only appeared so. Because of the delicacy
of her bones and the openness of her face, her innocence. But she was far
from innocent. Because she couldn’t dissemble. Wouldn’t dissemble. She
appeared like a child because of her honesty. “I mean I don’t ever really
know for sure, what you are thinking.”

The woman could not discern whether the girl didn’t have the capacity to decipher her thoughts or whether her thoughts were confused and so were indecipherable.

“What I am thinking or what anyone is thinking?” the woman asked.

“What you are thinking.”

“But I need to know just this,” the woman tried to cajole a truthful answer, “would you ever say anything that was not true?”

“Do you mean like rabbits or doves making distress sounds away from their nests in order to distract the crows? That’s not lying.”

“What is it?”

“It’s what they do. What small animals do.”

She was, herself, very much a small animal, in that moment.

“What’s a lie, then? Is a lie doing what you don’t do? Are you a … ?” the woman didn’t know what word to follow with. “Are you someone who lies or someone who doesn’t lie? And if you’re someone who lies, is it lying
when you lie?”

“Do you think I would lie to you?”

The girl had nailed her. She didn’t want to know if the girl lied, she didn’t so much want to know the girl’s nature, she wanted to know if the girl would lie to her. She wanted to know if they were having a relationship. If the girl cared that she, that she in particular, was sitting under the sycamore, waiting.

“Yes, of course I think that.” Now the girl was forcing her to be truthful.

“Am I right?”

“I don’t lie.”

‘Why not?”

“I never have to.”

“Are you lying? The question was a triumph, but the woman couldn’t maintain it and found herself asking immediately, “Would you like some juice? Or cookies?”

The girl did not answer and her silence was inevitable. It wasn’t like the woman to resort to such pat maternal questions. The woman no longer knew whether the words that came out of her mouth were the result of her will or whether she had become some puppet, some marionette operated by a master puppeteer from a remote distance. How like the girl it would be to put words in her mouth and then jeer at them or take umbrage and retreat.

“Aren’t you ready to come down?”

MORE from FERAL by Deena Metzger

What Is It? Who Is She?

Beginning of the novel FERAL by Deena Metzger.

The moment it first occurred to the woman that she would bring the girl home was when the girl had climbed to a sturdy branch halfway up the sycamore and ensconced herself there, first removing, then dropping, her yellow leather work boots and then her socks, stretched out like lilies at their tops, fluorescent lime green no less. The girl wrapped what looked like prehensile toes around some of the finer twigs so that it appeared that she had grown into the tree or it into her. When the woman was trying to discern the nature of the being she was examining, first she thought feral, then thinking feral, she thought wolf. But wolves don’t climb trees, both the girl and the woman knew that.

Confronted by the girl’s feet, she was compelled to say simian, ape, primate, mono, monkey, but stopped there as no one would identify a species by its feet alone. Then as the woman teetered between one identification and another without knowing if the confusion or complexity was in the girl or in herself, the girl raised her mouth to the sky and opened it into a fluted goblet as if to catch rain. The sadness the child exuded was so like a perfume that one could not bear taking it in or being without it. Grief eased out into the air extending itself in mineral colors like oil on water, the thinnest of diaphanous films until it found its destination and wrapped itself about the living body, a sculpture in opal and mother of pearl. So many days, the woman admitted, she had been curious about grief while most willing to avoid the textures of its mysteries.

Climbing the tree had not been a thoughtless or impetuous action. The girl had taken a Jew’s harp, a handful of dried cranberries, a scrap of blue leather, feathers, a vial of silver and turquoise beads, a needle, some thread, other secret objects, some sacred, all carefully balanced in the lap of an oversized T-shirt that the girl turned alternately into a desk, a knapsack, a handkerchief for blowing her nose, while another T-shirt became a bandanna, a snood, and a white banner that declared most adamantly: “I will not surrender.”

Closer scrutiny indicated however that this was not a wolf or a monkey person. Nothing so close to human. Or so diminished as to say humanoid. No protoperson. Nor was she any animal the woman could identify, but she was of another species, the woman thought, of another species altogether. The way the words fell together, something else she could not yet understand was presented to her mind: An animal of other species altogether. Or, as she was only later to understand the meaning of: an animal of other species all together.

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