Two Weeks of Trees – Day 2

For day 2 I’m reblogging another tree story I wrote several years ago:-

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mixed media painting – 2020

OBSCURITY

Obscurity, a tree fairy, believed that hiding out in the roots of a willow that grew beside the river was the safest place in the whole wide world.  She had clung there for years and years – through droughts and floods – even the construction of a housing estate on the river flats and the building of a six lane freeway overpass just a stone’s throw away.   While all these events had been going on she had wrapped her legs tighter round the tree roots and hung on for dear life.   She was so inoffensive and quiet even the willow tree above her had forgotten she was there.   To its own detriment it might be added, for what is a tree without its protective spirit – nothing more than a collection of wood and leaves – a sad drooping excuse for a tree – a poor bedraggled specimen with no vitality at all – a very sad tree indeed.

People were beginning to notice.   They wrote letters to the Council.  “That tree,” they said, “that willow down near the overpass – it’s a disgrace – an eyesore.   It should be cut down.”   The Council Tree Inspector came down to take a look.   He had to agree.  The thing was ugly – nearly dead.   It was time it was removed.   There would be an outcry of course.   Tree removal always upset people but there was no other course of action.

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Events proceeded to proceed until the imminent removal of the tree hit the front page of the local paper.  Tree lovers banded together and formed an action group.   They sought second and third opinions on the health of the tree.   Experts were found who felt the tree could be saved.   What it would take was a massive injection of love.

The call went out – ‘if you love trees come now, there’s a tree that needs saving’.   Tree lovers from across the country heeded the call.   Even international tree lovers arrived.   A camp was set up and people took turns to hug the tree and whisper loving words into the leaves.  Deep down below Obscurity stirred.   She had known the tree was ill but she’d been powerless to help it.   Just as the tree had withered, so had she.   Now she felt the love pouring down the trunk into the roots and from there, into her very being.

Slowly Obscurity grew stronger.   Love was she’d been needing all along.  All those droughts and flooding rains, the building of the housing estate with the roar of construction and that ugly freeway overpass had depressed her.

Now as tree lovers poured the pure love in their hearts into the tree she heard the voice of her Soul.  “You must find the strength to show yourself Obscurity,” it whispered.  “You have a job to do.   You have been entrusted with the sacred duty to care and protect this tree.  To do that you must be brave.   You must show your beauty to the world.   Life isn’t about staying safe – it’s about being true to yourself – it’s about fulfilling your potential.”

Obscurity listened.   She knew the words were true.  Letting go of the roots she shapeshifted into a beautiful white dove.  “Look,” said the tree lovers.  “It is the dove of peace and hope.”   They raised their eyes in wonder as the dove flittered around the tree and alighted on the top branch.

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The tree responded with a shiver of joy.  New green shoots appeared on the topmost branches then spread down in a curtain of beauty that veiled the hard edges of the housing estate and gave it a lived in, homely atmosphere.

Children put aside their iPhones and came out to play.  Husbands pulled barbeques out of the garage and texted friends to come over.   Wives emerged from their work stations.  They put aside their schedules and their duties and laughed with their neighbours.   In the background the freeway overpass mellowed and took on the ambience of a graceful Japanese bridge.   The tree lovers hugged each other and another dove – a male – flew down and joined Obscurity,    “I am so glad you decided to show yourself,” he tweeted   ‘You are my one true love.”

Obscurity’s white feathers glowed.  “I think I’ll change my name,” she decided.

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Thank you to everyone who linked one of their own posts about trees yesterday. It was lovely to pay you all a visit and learn about wonderful trees in your part of the world. I’ll be posting tree related stories, facts, poems and photos up until Christmas. If you want to join please link your post in the comment thread below and visit tree posts others have linked.

You are welcome to use this logo on new posts on your two weeks of trees posts.

Two Weeks of Trees

My visit to the silver tree on Friday inspired me. It’s that time of the year when the huge old North American Ash Tree in my garden gets its full leaf cover down here in south eastern Australia. Despite the brutal pruning the tree endured last summer it has developed a dense leafy canopy this year. My little house has all but disappeared beneath it.

To celebrate the beauty and enduring strength of trees I’ve decided to spend some time up until Christmas posting photos, poems, art and stories about trees. A lot of them will be reblogs from my previous blog ‘Being in Nature’ but there’ll be some new stuff too. I can’t promise to blog every day but if you’d like to join in add a link to your blog posts in the comment thread and I’ll come over and visit. All kinds of posts about trees can be linked including of course, the seasonal symbol of renewal, the Christmas Tree.

To get the ball rolling I’m reblogging a story about a tree I wrote in May 2019

THE TREE OF LIFE

Looking back the tree couldn’t say for sure when it had become aware of itself.   It had been a gradual process.

For ages it had the organic consciousness that all trees in the forest have – that interchanging of information about weather and soil conditions through the fungi on their roots, but beyond that – nothing. 

Over the years the clear felling of parts of the forest and the reduction of habitat for the animals sent shock waves through the tree. This may have prompted its initial leap into self awareness. As the forest reduced in size humans were able to penetrate deeper in.  When they discovered the tree with its exposed roots they took countless photos and posted them on social media.   The way the roots intertwined led people to call it ‘The Tree of Life.’    A cult following grew on the internet and people began to visit the tree to hold rituals and ceremonies beneath its spreading branches.   Later the tree wondered if this veneration had also contributed to its evolution of consciousness. As the tree awoke so too did the other plants in the forest.   The animals were also evolving.   

Awakening, the forest and its denizens came to understand that climate change was driving their evolution.   As the world got hotter some species of insects that were unable to adapt, became extinct. As a result birds had less to feed on and had fewer young.   That meant there were less birds to spread the seeds of berry bushes.   Fewer berries meant less caterpillars. That, of course, meant less butterflies and so on and on it went through all levels of the forest’s ecology.

As these changes to the forest’s ecosystem became more noticeable humans began to realise that their actions were behind this change in the environment.  Those that came to venerate the tree now came with greater intent.  Their rituals were more focused and they sought genuine connection with the tree’s consciousness.

Warmed by their attention the tree opened up to them.  As the people slipped into deep communion with the tree many expressed deep grief at what was happening across the planet.  The tree felt their pain and opened even further to them. The heartbeat of the people slowed and they tuned into the natural pulse of life that surged through the tree. Slowly their grief gave way to something new.   A greater understanding of the place of humans within the ecosystem of Earth began to awaken within them.

“We are the children of Earth,” they murmured to each other.   “We have a role to play as caretakers of the planet.   We have to find ways of living that do not exploit the earth’s resources to satisfy our own greed.”

Some people left then to return to the cities and start action groups.   Others stayed on and journeyed even deeper into nature consciousness.   “We are part of nature here on Earth,” they said. “The Earth is part of the larger cosmos.   Everything is interconnected.   The indigenous cultures know this, the Buddhists speak of this and the old Mother Cultures understood this.   We need to listen to these voices yet we also need to use our technologies to invent new ways of living on the planet.    Everything is changing – the seas are rising – the storms are increasing in intensity – it will be thousands of years before the climate stabilizes even if we take drastic action from this time on.    What is needed now is clear eyed resilience.   The future will about the survival of the most adaptable.”

The tree whispered its acknowledgement of these ideas in a gentle shaking of its leaves.

Link below if you want to celebrate trees – you can post as little or as often as you like.
Tag your post – Two Weeks of Trees

A journey

prompt: For this challenge, write a journey-poem. If you were a famous explorer, what new worlds could you say you’ve found? What treasures hard to find have you come back with? What have you learned about story-telling? Where do tellings fail? And what of the Earth’s own journey into this strange, post-Holocene era? How is your journey entwined with that tale?

image and poem created – 2012

I am so deep into finishing my novel now I can’t think of any other way to write other than through the eyes of the characters. I am working on the final chapter – this writing comes from there:-

On the night of the full moon
in the lingering light of sunset
the moon rose over the sea.
All at once
her mind became the moon
and she sailed high
above the world, so full of light,
so serene.

As the night deepened
there was nothing else but her moon mind
illuminating the sea and casting a path of gold
across the waters

then she came back into an awareness of herself
as a human on a cliff top
with the world so beautiful,
so complete within itself
and the future
a golden road yet to travel

– As for the story telling (of my novel anyway) I keep changing my mind about the book’s publication date – it’ll be done when it’s done and it isn’t far off done now.

Dreams

I am a fan of Audrey Driscoll’s blog. She often posts interesting articles about the process of writing fiction. Today she asks: ‘Have you ever used a dream in fiction?’ https://audreydriscoll.com/2021/11/28/dreams-in-fiction/

There’s a dream in my upcoming novel. It’s in a section of the story I hadn’t re-read for ages. Audrey’s thoughts on including dreams in fiction made me go back and take a look at what I’d written. Here it is:-

 “… he slipped back into a dreaming sleep where he stood in an empty wasteland.  His mother was beside him.

‘There’s the bird I named you after Raven,’ she said pointing at a large black raven sitting on a dead tree.  It regarded the two of them with one bright eye.  As Raven watched it took flight. ‘Go after it,’ his mother said and he ran out across the barren plain.  His mother disappeared and it was just Raven and the bird moving across a rock strewn desert. The raven cawed and the sound wailed out across the emptiness.  It fell away to silence then Raven heard the sound of drumming.  Powerful rhythmic drumming.  People appeared and danced round him.   The drumming grew louder and Raven began to dance with them.  A man leapt in front of him cloaked in a robe of coloured feathers.  Snakes piled high on his head writhed in time to the drumming and he stared deep into Raven’s eyes, linking the two of them somehow.  The dream faded and Raven was left with an after image of coal black eyes.”

desert dreaming – oil on canvas

I had been intending to publish the novel on Amazon before Christmas. Editing the segment I have posted here I realise that the book will stronger if I take more time. I’m working on the manuscript every day and pushing it along to completion. Exhaustion is my middle name.

The Christmas deadline was an arbitrary one I imposed on myself. I see now I need longer between completing the current editing/rewriting process and the final read through/line edit. I will take a break when I finish the rewrite and come back to the project with fresh energy in the new year. Publishing will now happen sometime in the first quarter of next year.

A novel update and a new venture

Taking a break from editing, editing, editing before I edit myself into non-existence or an over caffinated frenzy –

My eco novel is coming along and nearing completion. I hope to indie publish it before Christmas. I’m currently on track to achieve that goal.

When the left brain thinking of editing gets too much I make jewellery. I’m thinking I might sell the stuff I make at markets over our Aussie summer – if it stops raining long enough and if the Covid restrictions ease up a bit more. I’m also thinking I’ll set up an online shop but that will be after I get the novel finished and published.

Here’s some the necklaces I’ve made to date. I like working with gemstones. The stones I’ve used here include agate, jade, aquamarine, quartz and turquoise howlite.

The Great Remembering

re-wilding – mixed media on paper

Trapped, caged.
Left for dead.
Relegated to the forgotten realms
the human wild self
withers.

Eons past the human mind came
into awareness of itself
out in the natural world
where wild animals roam free.

The indigenous people remember.
They know the ways to live
in tune and harmony
with the wild Earth songs

Encultured now
the modern human lives behind walls
– physical, mental and emotional.
Cut off and oblivious,
removed from the plight
of others beyond the walls,
taking whatever they want,
never stopping to count the cost,
ignoring the warning signs,
the wild is endangered everywhere,
within and without.

From deep in the human being
the call comes,
Remember now,
before it is too late.
Embrace the wild self,
turn to the forgetting to remembrance –
the Earth is our home.
Humans are part of nature

FROM MY UPCOMING ECO NOVEL:

A woman wearing a headdress of coloured feathers took to the podium. ‘We, the indigenous people of the Earth have not forgotten,’ she said in a voice that rose to the rafters and echoed round the room, strong and proud. ‘We know that when we humans lay waste the Earth we despoil our home. When we cut down the trees we kill our elders. When we hurt the animals we harm our brothers and sisters.’

She spoke then of her island home sunk now beneath the sea. Her voice grew soft as she talked of the grief of her people as they crowded onto boats and fled their ancestral land. They had no idea where they were going or if they’d ever set foot on solid ground again. All they had were the few belongings they clung to. The birds, plants and animals they loved as friends were left behind. All perished now. All gone.

Her voice dropped to a whisper then ceased altogether. A silence settled over the room like a prayer, a requiem for those kindred spirits that had departed the Earth forever.

Writer’s Block

I have been working on the second draft/structural rewrite/major edit of a novel. It’s exhausting. My brain turns to sludge and I look up synonyms for the simplest words. ‘What’s another word for boredom?’ I ask google.

Progress slows to snail’s pace but still I plough on determined to finish the thing by the June solstice… the equinox… now… years end… arbitrary dates I pluck out of the ether.

Reading through the manuscript I realize the writing goes flat wherever I push and struggle. I can barely be bothered reading to the end of the tortured sentences I’ve written.

Yesterday I decided to let the whole thing rest. I’ll finish it if the story comes alive for me again…

A morning sea fog
shrouding visibility
– a profound silence

prompt: https://dversepoets.com/2021/09/27/haibun-monday-9-27-21-writers-block/

A POSTSCRIPT; I wrote this post earlier then spent the day figuring out how to get out of this state of mind. I like to read ‘how to’ articles about writing on the internet. One thing I learned today is that a way through a stuck place in writing a novel is to give the problem to a character in said novel. It’s a great idea. Not only does it focus on the mind on the nature of the writer’s block it also creates a pathway out of the block. The novel writing continues…

The cauldron

Into the cauldron of desire the town witch dropped a touch of magic, a modicum of hope and a dollop of love.

“It needs something more,” she muttered as she tasted the brew. “A generous dash of spice should do it and maybe a splash of hot sauce.” The flames around the cauldron leapt high when she added the new ingredients.

“Still not right,” she fussed as the mixture bubbled and spluttered. “It needs a teaspoon of sugar of course and pinch a salt but still there’s something missing.”

Studying the shelf where her ingredients were neatly arranged in labelled jars she let intuition guide her. Outside her room she could hear the people of the town clamouring for answers. Their world was in chaos and they were counting on her to put it right. She had to get a move on. Soon they’d be banging on her door and their noise would destroy the magic.

Taking the jars she’d selected back to cauldron she poured in a tablespoon of scientific curiosity and a healthy dose of realism. The mixture responded by thickening and changing hue. Into the glorious sea green liquid she scattered a few grains of angel dust. This was her most precious ingredient and her handled it with great care.

“Hocus Pocus and Abracadabra ” she intoned as she stirred the potion. Immediately the brew cleared and flowed like nectar from her spoon. Lifting the cauldron off the heat she poured the mixture into the town’s water supply.

“I should get some peace and quiet now, she thought.

Prompt: https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2021/07/01/rdp-thursday-cauldron/ Here is your word for Thursday, 1 July 2021  —  CAULDRON. Create a post (words/images/both) inspired by this word!