April 1, 2015

Tree Stories

Spreading, Bangalore (2015)

When reading this article today, I learned that it was International Forest Day on March 21st; this article incidentally happens to explore the politics of trees in Africa, which certainly made me pause and consider the way trees shape and influence our landscape in multiple ways.

Embrace, Fallingwater (2013)

I have previously blogged about my fascination for trees; I once again wonder if it stems from the fact that I grew up in Oman, where I mostly saw trees as gnarled, hardy, antique characters dotting the desert scrub or insulated, almost snobby clusters of exotic tree species, rather than grandly massed in forests? When we lived in Pittsburgh, I especially grew to love walking upon nature trails which wound through densely wooded parks during heady summer days; the urban drabness receded into the distance and I found myself enveloped in a leafy, green-light filtered world, hearing only bird-song and unique musical notes that only rustling leaves are capable of creating.

Telescoped Time, Sequoia National Park (2014)

Before we left the States, my husband and I embarked upon a month long cross-country trip where we visited several National Parks in the American South-west (aside: I really should blog about that epic journey one of these days!) One of the parks was the Sequoia National Park in California where we encountered some of the world's largest and tallest trees. As you wandered amongst groves of these giant sequoia trees, many of which were thousands of years old, you couldn't help but wonder: who and where exactly were you in the the grand scope of the Earth's history and existence? My personal perception of time and space were greatly telescoped, scaling down my trivial concerns and worries; I similarly felt that way when I was sitting by the sea. It was an undoubtedly powerful experience to be in the company of these august tree giants, who stoically and solidly continued to grow, as they had done for many a millennia - and I remember feeling both fulfilled and yet, a little depleted when we reluctantly left the park and returned to the identical monotony of a Californian freeway.

The Architecture of a Leaf, Delhi (2015)

I guess it is why I feel so strongly about the necessity of large and multiple green spaces in urban environments; you need such spots in which to escape the soul-sapping demands of urban life, no matter how temporarily, in order to contemplate, recuperate, and relax. Indeed, when I am in the presence of old, venerable trees, with their spreading branches, labyrinthine roots, and serried leaves, I feel that they radiate a contagious calm, which immediately envelops you in its fold. 

I recently read about and spotted Jahanpanah Forest in Delhi the other day and which I would quite like to explore. In the meantime, as I write, I see the tree outside my apartment window filled with soft red flowers; the tree neighboring it has sprouted feathery green leaves, which provide accompaniment to the parabolas of the chocolate-hued seed pods limning its branches. There are plenty more trees to encounter in my neighborhood, including the huge peepal tree behind my apartment whose leaves' shadows dapple my walls, drop gifts of leaves in my balcony, sing along with the rain, and seemingly protectively curtain me from the surrounding world. 

We Barely Know Each Other, Delhi (2015)

Speaking of protectiveness, I would like to bookend this post with another article and also, a wonderful story about tree canopy shyness; I thought it so perfectly illustrated the innate beauty, dignity, and wisdom of trees.

Do you have a favorite tree - and tree story?

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