Thursday, October 23, 2008


Trees. Why not? I found myself contemplating them yesterday, and contemplating, in turn, the escape they have afforded day after day, year-in, year-out, since childhood, since I first emerged from the hazy noumenal soup to the animating light of consciousness, or Atman, or animate motion, or whatever you choose to call it, you of many gods, or no gods at all; you who live wickedly, under blankets of ignominy, or you shining by many virtues, you who read Nietzsche on a mountainside, you who cower in bungalows before the shrieking, piercing call of the television set, you who wait with bated bardic breath and quietly memorize prose. This one is for all of you.
So, trees, Yes, trees: the giants that have survived glaciations. Giants, some of who have lived longer than any human-hewn thing from stone. Yes, there are trees older than the pyramids. I have never seen one, but I am told they form the canopies of temperate rain forests. They are scaled with elevators, which must seem like gossamer touches of fluttering hairs to them. And think! We mortals, standing in their shadows...

Yes, trees. Have you ever felt the whisper from some spider-grown catacomb of the collective unconscious as you have viewed the trunk of a tree head-on. For millions of years, during our pre-hominid days, our lineage lived in them. We caroused along their canopies in a curious world of three dimensions shot through by fractals of constantly splitting branches. Can you imagine such landscapes? Kaleidoscopes--real kaleidoscopes, needing no psychedelic substances to manifest them to the interpreting mind. We jumped that once. We were closest to flying then. Then we licked the sky and shattered even the clouds with our screeches. Hearken to the whisper: the tree trunk calls you to a distant home. A stop-over where we were comfortable in our brutish huntedness... not like here, uncomfortable with elephant-long life. Were we built to withstand it?

Yes, trees. Constant knitting needles into our mood centres. much like a paperclip can pick a lock: the emaciated reaching against a gray sky in November portending eyelid-heaviness like nothing else--possibly: the memory of hibernation from some lost ancestor--,or greenish buds, like indecisive snails on the branches, weighing them down and warming them with intimations of new hope with every unknown wavelength of light they absorb, or in winter, barren, like moods, like our hopes, like our sense of freedom-walking and basking in the "yes!" of being, or, lastly, in July, waving leafy, shadowy, womb-like, protective agreement with that "yes!".

Yes, trees. Tree types personnified. Branches named. Drawn. Interpreted. Smelled. Felt. Heard. Climbed. Leaned against. Dreamt-of.

Consider: "At bottom the ancient, gnarled, / root of all things / upraised, hidden springs, / that are not revealed. // Hunt-horn and battle helm, / elder's disputes, / angry men, overwhelmed, / women like lutes ... // Crowded twigs on a tree, / not one of them free ... / One! oh climb higher ... oh higher ... // Most still break. But instead, / this first one, overhead, /bends itself into a lyre."