Monday, June 28, 2010

The Festival of Trees, Inspiration

Trees are a source of inspiration, not only for writers and other artists, but all living creatures (you know, that stuff we breathe and all).

The Festival of Trees is a monthly blog carnival for all things arboreal. July’s is hosted by Yvonne Osborne of The Organic Writer blog. Please click here to read the other posts (I think they'll be up on the 1st), and click on the button to the right for the ongoing festival.

What would literature be like without trees? In Star Wars, there would be no Chewie, and no Wookies, no ferocious warriors living in the tree tops of Kashyyyk. The Rebellion would’ve fallen flat without the tree-dwelling Ewoks on Endor and Han and Leia would never have survived to get married and have Jedi babies.

Pandora would be a soul-less moon without the Hometree or the Tree of Voices or Tree of Souls and Jake Sully would still be a bitter, crippled human with no redemption.

Without the Ents, Middle Earth would have been destroyed by Sauron and Saruman and the story would have ended then and there. Frodo would not have made it to the Crack of Doom and Aragorn would still be Strider.

Would Ashley Wilkes’ beloved Twelve Oaks be known as Twelve Cotton Plants? And where would the Swiss Family Robinson have lived? Paul Bunyon would have had no origins and Johnny Appleseed no purpose without trees.

I grew up in the woods of rural Georgia, spending hours in the mimosa trees in our front yard. I played Barbie, read books and perfected my own brand of aerial acrobatics. The sweet aroma of their soft and delicate pink blossoms still invokes memories of lazy summers spent in their boughs.

Once I climbed to the top of a young sweet gum tree because I longed to know what it felt like to sway in the wind. It was utterly divine, yet slightly terrifying.

Today I live in a mountain cabin with a forest as my backyard. The susurration of the wind in the hardwoods is the closest I now get to the ocean and to home.

I haven’t climbed a tree in a very long time and, until I wrote this post I had forgotten what it feels like to spend time up there. Thank you, Yvonne, for reminding me.

And to quote Joyce Kilmer's immortal line, I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.

P.S. I have an award to accept from Suzie over at the Writer Junkie blog, be on the lookout for some link love coming your way soon. Thanks, Suzie!

Pictures from top to bottom: leaning California oak taken in Oak Canyon Park, Oak Park, CA; the morning sun reflecting on our back yard on New Hope Circle, Dawsonville, GA; Falcon Heights in Big Canoe, GA, after a rain storm; clouds after a fall storm taken through a red plum in Oak Park, CA.

11 comments:

Ivy Bliss said...

I, too, cannot survive without trees. I dream about them, look to them for understanding and solace. Once, when I was little, I climbed to the top of the tallest tree in our town (across the street from the school) and fell asleep in my perch. I awoke to my mother's frightened voice screaming because she could not find me. To this day, I cannot understand how she could not see how I was just in my element.

Thank you for this writing, and reminding me to look up!

In other news, I'm still moving to C-ville! Adventure awaits, and the boy and I both have cars... :)

Ivy Bliss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elaine AM Smith said...

I adore trees. I was even prepared to let my children climb a few because that must be experienced; I normally take health and safety to cotton-wool-jacket levels.

Jen said...

I've been seeing these around and I love them! I love trees and all their meanings and looks, they are all unique and it's what makes this place all the more beautiful!

Olivia Herrell said...

Ivy, thank you for sharing the story about climbing the tree, that is priceless. I'm glad you're still moving. What was I thinking. You and that car are one! :)

Elaine, oh, I hope you do! Why not join them? Thanks for stopping by and for commenting.

Jen, well said! Good to see you again and thanks, I'm glad you were here!

~Olivia

Melanie Sherman said...

Even dead trees provide life. Apparently when you cut down a dead one you should leave at least ten feet or more. I left about 25 feet of a Douglas fir and sure enough, this spring a woodpecker has found it's delicious bug bounty. I love trees. Wonderful blog.

Olivia Herrell said...

Melanie, thank you so much for stopping by AND for leaving the fir trunk for the bugs and the woodpecker...and all the other lovely critters that make use of it.

You reminded me of the enormous pileated woodpecker I heard this spring. It was making quite a ruckus outside the house. I looked out the window and he was going to town on a fallen tree trunk. I watched for quite some time until my Bugsy cat stalked him. The pecker was almost as big as my cat (who's a big guy) but he flew off in to the trees. Thanks for reminding me and for the smile!

~Olivia

arlee bird said...

Trees are so cool-- in more ways than one. One year the tree trimmers trimmed the trees than line the highway behind my house. The summer was miserable as the heat factor inside our normally shaded home rose abysmally. I told them not to ever trim them at the beginning of summer. Last year they trimmed at the end of October which was better, but they still don't have the shade factor that they should. Leave 'em be I say.

Thanks for visiting my "Ed Sullivan" show of a blog and for following. Glad to find yours and reciprocate. You live in a beautiful part of the country. I moved to SoCal in 1991 from North of the Smokey Mountains in Maryville, TN (near Knoxville) not too far from Dahlonega.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Olivia Herrell said...

Lee, sorry about your shade. When I rented this cabin in April there were pines in the front and side yard and a backyard full of hardwoods, including one big oak tree that was only a few feet from the back deck. About the time we moved in they came through and cut ALL of the pines, took out the closer hardwoods and left us with NO afternoon shade. :(

Thanks for stopping by and following! Where in SoCal? I miss it sooo badly. I moved here last December fom Oak Park/Thousand Oaks (Ventura Co just above LA Co line). You're right, it's beautiful, that's the saving grace. Plus, I got a novel out of the deal so it can't be all bad, right?

~Olivia

L'Aussie said...

I love these tree blogs. Yum. They're so beautiful. Thanks for popping by and reading my story..:)

arlee bird said...

I'm in Pico Rivera which is bordered by Downey, Montebello, Whittier and El Monte -- about 10 miles west of downtown L.A.

Lee
Tossing It Out

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