Sunday, April 21, 2013

remembering a tree on Earth Day

Among the everyday miracles in this world are trees, silent giants that are witness to many lifetimes, many sunrises, sunsets and full moons.   The tree planted when a home is new will shelter it, and it's inhabitants, be a witness to the  change and challenges of their lives, and sometimes even be the only reminder that there was once a home there.  A tree can hold a place in a person life, history and even heart.
And to cut them down for no good reason is a crime against the earth.  But when a the tree is so damaged or rotted that it has become a hazard, there is is often no good option.
During the depression years it was popular for people to plant Norway Spruce, or so i have been told, and they were handed out by some government agencies for free. This double trunked tree had weather ed many storms, even Hurricane Sandy,  but it was finally brought down by the chain that held had been used to chain it's two trunks together.  Unnoticed for so many years until the tree had grown around it and and seriously weekend  trunks began to twist around the embedded chains some 30 feet above the ground.

My grandfather, father and uncle planted several of these trees on their properties, and most are still standing.  Several were planted around my the home I now live in by whoever owned it way back then.  Those who originally planted these trees. usually made the mistake of planting them too close together, perhaps they didn't now what towering giants where destined to come from those tiny seedlings.

The thick canopy left little sunlight and less rain filter down to the ground and the massive root system rose slightly above the soil and stones and brick were placed in between them, it made them look like the remains of some medieval village, and made walking much easier. a good place to play knights of King Arthur's round table, or to pretend that you were hunting. and sometime we did hunt, for the Easter eggs hidden in the hollows of the tree.  and sometimes we hid things in those same hollows, just for safe keeping.

It didn't take us long to learn we could sit under this tree in the rain and not get wet, a good place to sit and eat a peanut butter sandwich on a rainy Saturday, when the grown-ups were all indoors talking about grown up stuff.   The air always smelled so fresh under that tree and you could look up through the branches and watch the clouds on a hot day, because it was always cool and refreshing there.
Those raised roots and and an old old umbrella were all that was needed to walk across a tightrope high above the cheering crowds, and when my clumsy self was covered with sticky pitch, bumps, bruises and scuffs from death defying falls to the net of needs and pine cones far below me, it was a good place to look at pictures in a magazine and recover. Or  read a book.  I have vague memories of thinking, upon hearing the story in Kindergarten,  that that was the Tree that the tiger chased Sambo around and around until he turned into butter. 
Even though I knew  butter didn't come from melted tigers. And noted that in class.
The trunks were used for fuel in an outdoor wood furnace, it is very unsafe to use it for fuel in an indoor wood stove.  the rest chipped and shredded with soon  return to the the earth.  The stump remains and will for many years a really good place to put  pots of flowers.   The memories, i hope never fade.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"all our voices will blend when we touch common ground"

The world was a large and mysterious place.  Explorers traveled forth, with great pomp and circumstance and came back to tell of the strange sights and customs, dangers and diseases, wisdom and wonder that they saw.  They lectured to audiences and wrote books about all to this and more.
In the  1950s there was a revolution of  that shrunk the world down to their size of  a box that fits in ones living room.  This revolution of course was TV, and it spread out before us the vast array of humanity, the different lifestyles, the variety of skin tones and features, the ingenuity that made  life possible in so many different landscapes and climates.  It gave everyone of us the opportunity to see those far away places, people things and ideas.   I can only speak for myself, but it sharpened my curiosity, and made me want to know more about the  lives of people in other lands.
Now, if you will, travel forward to the late 60's, I was one of a group of High School students on a field trip, we were turned loose in a large bookstore, and the the book many if not most of us bought was "The Family of Man" .  riding home that evening on the bus, most of use had the reading lights on.

~~~~and now a few explanatory sentences from Wikipedia~~~~~
The Family of Man was a photography exhibition curated by Edward Steichen first shown in 1955 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
According to Steichen, the exhibition represented the "culmination of his career." The exhibition contained 503 photos from 68 countries which represented 273 photographers (163 Americans[1]) were selected from almost 2 million pictures submitted by famous and unknown photographers.[2] These photos offer a striking snapshots of the human experience which lingers on birth, love, and joy, but also touches war, privation, illness, and death. Steichen's intention was to prove, visually, the universality of human experience and photography's role in its documentation.
The exhibit was turned into a book of the same name, containing an introduction by Carl Sandburg, Steichen's brother-in-law. The book was reproduced in a variety of formats (most popularly a pocket-sized volume) in the 1950s, and reprinted in large format for its 40th anniversary. It has sold more than 4 million copies.
After its initial showing at The Museum of Modern Art in 1955, the exhibition toured the world for eight years, making stops in thirty-seven countries on six continents. More than 9 million people viewed the exhibit. The only surviving edition was presented to Luxembourg, the country of Steichen's birth, and is on permanent display in Clervaux / . In 2003 the Family of Man photographic collection was added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in recognition of its historical value.[3]

World peace and and end to war, accepting that humans are all pretty much the same, was the hope then and now.  In "The Family of Man" we are more alike than we are different.  No matter where you live, the same things, love, family, birth, death, joy and sorrow are what make up our lives.  Our common ground, what should bring us together as a family of man.

When I first heard this song, "I thought who wrote that??? It's brilliant! " simple, truthful, straightforward; but especially joyful.

Common Ground

Common Ground Music - Ivan Lins Intersong Music ASCAP
Lyrics - Paul Winter, Michael Holmes, John Guth, Joel Sattler, Jim Scott

Voices are calling 'round the earth.
Music is rising in the sea.
The spirit of morning fills the air,
guiding my journey home.
Where is the path beyond the forest?
Where is the song I always knew?
I remember it's just around the bend,
in the village the music never ends.

In a circle of friends, in a circle of sound.
All our voices will blend when we touch common ground.

Somewhere is the melody we need.
There is a certain harmony,
Even a rhythm in the trees,
in the song that we've always known.
As every road comes to its end,
So every path must cross again.
Now I'm returning to my heart,
back to the song that is our own.

In a circle of friends, in a circle of sound.
All our voices will blend when we touch common ground.

Deep in my little kid soul, I still think, wish, hope and pray.


Friday, April 12, 2013

truer words


I lingered a little longer than usual over my morning cuppa today. the cold rain made me want to curl up under the quilt and sleep until the sun came out.  and thinking I really should check to see if there is still a world out there before I bothered to do anything else, I began to click through the news channels.

Carol Burnett was speaking about her book "Carrie and Me".   The book is about the all to brief time she had with her daughter, Carrie.  I listened to every word she said and then replayed it,  the following quote touched me deeply/

"Mama, I don't know why people don't smile more.  Because if you walk into a room full of strangers and you smile the world opens up to you."
~~~Carrie Burnett via Carol Burnett

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

they were all patiently waiting for me

One day, and I knew it would come,the sky was blue, and there was a warm breeze, and the first signs of sprint were all out there waiting.  Just for me!!!  Just for Me!              Now I  know that it wasn't really just for me,but if felt that way.  The long, much too long winter, was loosing it's sway on the drab landscape,  the robins returned weeks ago, i wondered how they survived  in those weeks when snow covered the grounds.  but they did.  Now they seem to be thriving, and looking for nesting material.  when i was in first grade, the teacher had a large vase of pussy willows  on a table in the corner, i had never seen anything like them before.and i was totally entrance by them.  that year we also brought in small branches from various trees and put them in jars of water on the windowsills, where they proceeded to leaf out long before the trees outside did. 
Crocus, came with this house, along with a few rangy tulips. peonies and several varieties of lilac.  they are the bright spots in and always bring a smile to my  winter weary heart.  crocus seem to move around this is not a part of their natural behaviours, it seems that certain mice and rodents find the tiny corms to be a delicacy and  stash them away, then forget where they stashed them. this particular group decided to bloom under the leaves of a century plant.
Ferns ,matted by snow that melted only yesterday spill out of a mossy stump, made almost sculptural by limbs that fell during the frequent ice storms .  and beyond them the snowdrops, first flowers of spring mark where someone once had a garden, that has long since gone wild.  later dog tooth violets and a few daffodils will bloom here ,and be covered with falling apple blossoms.

Be it the work of man, or the work of animals, snowdrops spread and form thick mats of lush green leaves and tiny blossoms that though they appear delicate, are not.  One of the more endearing qualities of this plant is that it blooms faithfully, even under the snow. 

How long ago the first snowdrops were planted here, I have no idea, certainly it has been more than 50 years.  Escaping the wrath of lawn mowers and modern landscaping they have made a garden of their own in the woodlot. 

Friday, April 5, 2013


delicate flowers

changing their shape quickly  a

butterfly alights

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"I do believe theres a Squatch in these woods." he said, and I wonder

One of mans greatest inventions, is the DVR that is built into our TV receiver, it allows me to record programs and watch them while I doing, well not much of anything but watching TV.  So, I recorded  " Finding Bigfoot".  It is certainly entertaining, and yes I do think it is possible there is a Sasquatch.  I remember the stories I heard so very long ago about "the walking bear", which roamed the fields and forests and only appeared to women,  but was not dangerous.   I have never seen it.  Or anything like it. 

I was really interested because I know some of the places  the BFRO team visited in this episode.  Especially the Kinzua Trestle.  I will repeat for my new readers, that it is a frequent destination of mine, and has been for the last 50 years. I have stood on it or crossed it several times every year and in every type of weather and walked many of the trails around it.  
Come to think of it I often feel like I am being watched, but  have seen and heard nothing all that out of the ordinary.  And good readers I have heard that old iron creak and groan, pop and moan for no good reason other than temperature change.   I should dearly have loved to hear whale song broadcast from the observation deck though. It would have been an incredible experience as the haunting voices or whales echoed through the valley. it might have even been better that sharing donuts with a Sasquatch.

As I have said, it is certainly possible they exist. But until I meet one, I remain respectfully skeptical. Respectfully because, well Mr and Mrs B. Foot, could just be nearly human. The current thinking indicates a generally peaceful,  tool using, environment shaping, creature who is stealthy, hides his tracks, has a language, and is well aware of our human tricks. Some researcher contend that a Sasquatch is not likely to be fooled twice by calls and other tricks used to bring them out in the open. Something that bear, deer , turkey and even dogs and cats, don't seem to learn easily if at all. More human than any primate we know of, one wonders if there are any signs of a sense of humor. Or if may-be researchers are reading meaning into something.

Medieval Europe had it's, woodhouse, wodehouse , wudewasa, piliousus. Creatures looking very much like a hairy covered club weilding human. In some legends Merlin was described as one.  It would seem that almost all cultures have a creature, who is not quiet human or more like a ferrel human who could worry the unwaryy traveller.  These could folk tales have a grain of truth in them, not necessarily literal truth though. 

I can remember hearing stories of old Hobos who had lived in the woods since the Depression, no one ever saw them, they were responsible for crude huts along the railroad tracks , rifling through garbage, and petty thievery. I regarded this as tales to scare children.
Some 30 years ago, after moving into a new house, I cleared out many household items that were left by the previous tenant, putting them in a garbage bag and left then in an unlocked shed, I came back a few days later to find 2 silver dimes a nickle and 3 wheat pennies, left where the garbage bag sat. nothing else was out of place and no one saw or heard anything.  

So, what if.....I mean what if one were captured,  a corpse were found, horrible thought if one were shot, which would beg the question if it was murder?
What would you do if you knew where a family group was? Would you tell?
I for one wonder how ethically a kindred species would be treated, and for that reason, I hope we never know for sure. Apparently we have co-existed for a very long time, I hope it stays that way.


slightly wordy Slent Sunday on a road

Not every picture is worth a thousand words, but the memory it represents is.