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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:09 pm 
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Lovely, Cem. :love:

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Eine Blume der Asche meines Herzens


but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 3:53 pm 
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Beautiful! :love:

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:17 am 
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The weather here has finally realized that it’s Summer and we have had a lovely string of fine days. It is full Summer, quickening into Fall. Beans are ready for picking, and cucumbers. The corn is blooming, and the Fennel too, and the potato haulks are brown and withered. The little patch of Opium Poppies is all seed heads and I will get out there tomorrow to clip them and stash them in paper bags, then set them aside for next Spring. Are they really Opium Poppies? Well, they look like it and I like the idea, for some reason.

Every evening when my husband is finished work, he and the dogs come down the stairs to the back yard. The dogs sprawl at our side, tired from their day’s labour. We nearly always have a fire and we sit there and have a beer and a cider and the kids play on the nearby trampoline or splash in the pool. The breeze is a bit chilly as it comes down from the back hill and across the sheep paddock into the yard, shaking the wind chimes into music. I have many sets of chimes, from small Elvish ones to big Entish ones whose deep, soft notes are finer to my ear than any cathedral organ could be.

The plague of mosquitoes, biblical in its proportions, is over. How I hate mosquitoes!!! They kept me cooped up indoors all of July, the wretched creatures. Now I can sit by the fireplace and watch the sky change in the East as the Sun sets in the West. I can watch the flocks of crows wending their way North to the river, heading for their rookeries in the mountains beyond Mission. The wood we burn gives up 40 summers of heat, every stick known to me, since I planted every tree and then had to order their felling.

We have a common, ordinary yard. My lawn is a lawn only because of Honda motors and the rotary blade, otherwise it would be what it was before, pasture full of orchard grass and buttercup, scirpus reed and dandelions. There are bare patches where the kids play soccer and where they speed across on their trail bikes. A pitching target leans on one sagging fence. The sheep went through here today on a little expedition and there are bits of sheep poop waiting for the unwary shoe, just a little darker green than the grass.

Between the fireplace and the house stand 4 big Birch trees. I planted those trees nearly 40 years ago, and every day I am glad I did. They don’t need to do or be anything but what they are, lovely and graceful, but they do more, they cool my house and make the yard pleasant. Their branches make a canopy over the little gravel area we call our patio, and they entwine with the branches of the Manitoba maple at the foot of the steps. Our barbecue and tables and chairs are on this little gravel patch, in the green room roofed with Birch and Maple leaves. Every morning I sweep the gravel with a fine rake and then I sit and have a cup of coffee and . . . just sit there. Where could I sit in a better place? Nowhere I know of.

There are several Douglas firs, and a Pine, and Amorican spruce and a Japanese maple. There is a truncated Weeping Willow recovering its form from last year’s pruning, and there is a native Vine Maple, all on the far side of the yard by the dog kennel. There’s an Oak from an acorn from the Oak tree my Mum planted in the front yard the first year we lived here, that Oak from an acorn from her tree and her tree from an acorn she was given and was told it was from Robin Hood’s oak in Nottingham Forest. Whether or no, it is precious to me since my Mum planted it, at the same time she planted the Fir tree at the west end of the house. Mum has a green thumb, anything she plants will thrive.

Under the Crimson King maple in the front yard is a red cedar stump I had hauled from my childhood home, it is partly black from being burned and silver where it wasn’t. When I was really little I saw my Dad blow that stump from the ground and then haul it to the stump pile with a team of horses. Then years later I saw him drag it to their house and set it in my Mum’s garden. When they sold the farm I could not let that stump be burned like trash and had it brought here. The truck driver shook his head when he saw his cargo, but did I care? That stump was a living tree when Simon Fraser canoed past it on his way downriver to the Pacific!!!

Now it is getting late. The evening is nearly still, the wind chimes nearly silent. In a few minutes I’ll go out and, as I like to do every evening, I’ll put another log on the fire and sit and watch the sky darken, watch the first stars come out. If the boys come out and sit with me, that’s fine, and if they don’t that’s fine too. On the way in I will do something else I like to do, I will stand and press my hands to the trunk of a Birch and try to imagine what it is thinking. Trees are beings. They stand in one place, not having much experience of travel, but they get to know their ground pretty well. They are silent witnesses to our existence, in their bark and rings is recorded everything that happens under them or near them. These trees were saplings when my children were babies. My children swung on them and stole their branches to make spears and sticks to roast hot dogs on. They have shaded my kitchen for decades and made a place for me to sit in the cool on a summer afternoon. I wonder if they can hear me when I speak to them? I hope they can. I hope they know how much I love them. They ought to outlive me, all things being equal. It would be fine with me if I could be put to rest in their shade.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:04 am 
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Interferes With Natural Selection
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Beautiful, vision...


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 2:12 am 
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Very beautiful! :love:

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 2:49 am 
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Thank you both!!!

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 2:12 pm 
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Yes, very beautiful! :)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 3:03 pm 
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Living in hope
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I've never seen your place, but I feel as if I have, you paint it so vividly. :love:

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:57 pm 
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Cute, cuddly and dangerous to know
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Lovely, vison. :love:


So, when's that moot you invited us all to in another thread a while ago...? :D

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Eine Blume der Asche meines Herzens


but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:56 am 
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vison, your words brought tears to my eyes this evening....good tears - the kind that come with smiles of recognition and memories and understanding.

Thank-you, from someone else who speaks to trees and longs to hear their answers. :hug:

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Who could be so lucky? Who comes to a lake for water and sees the reflection of moon.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:10 am 
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Thank you all.

I could never be happy in a place without trees. Sometimes they are too many and too close, but the ones in my yard are old friends.

Near where the boys play baseball there is one huge fir tree. It is so big that its roots are lifting the pavement in the parking lot and twisting the curb at the street. The city makes noises about cutting it down, but no one living nearby would stand for it. Langley is a city of trees, but though there are thousands of others, no one feels that they can spare this one. It must be over a hundred years old, which is old for a tree in the city, in a neighbourhood built up since the war -- in other words, the other trees here were cleared within the last 60 years. It stands alone, and it has great presence. You can lean on it and look up and up and up. You can almost hear it living. Do you know what I mean? You are aware that the tree is alive, that it is not just a big inanimate "thing". It is also quite perfectly formed and beautiful, a specimen Fir. The wind in its boughs makes a deep, thrilling, booming sound.

Last winter there was a terrible lot of wind damage in Vancouver's Stanley Park. I haven't seen the damage, but people who have seen it say it was awful. Hundreds of mature trees were destroyed. Stanley Park is Vancouver's pride and joy, and there are some magnificent trees there. Yet though there are still many, the city still mourns the loss from this past storm.

I remember reading Anne of Green Gables and how Anne loved trees and gave them names. I used to think that was a bit over the top. But the older I get the more I love trees. Maybe because they get to be old, like I am getting old? :D Even common old Alders and Cottonwoods are wonderful things.

We don't get the fall colours here that other parts of Canada do. But the leaves are beginning to colour up just the same, here and there. The birches and maple I wrote about above are dropping leaves, more and more every day. Every morning I rake up a bigger pile of them.
Summer is over, no matter what the calendar says. We can still get weeks of wonderful weather, but the days are noticeably shorter, the nights cooler.

A few days ago I was sitting on the back step and thinking I needed to plant a tree in a bit of a bare patch, where the westering sun in these late summer days shines too strongly into the area where we sit. Unless you have your back to it, it is uncomfortable. I thought I ought to plant something quick-growing, that would shoot up and make shade just where we need it. Then I thought, Jeez. I'm over 60! By the time that tree is a BIG tree, I'll be long underground. Sorta took the fun out of thinking about it. But then I mentioned it to my Mum, who will be 83 this November and she scolded me and said, with some asperity, that SHE is still planting trees.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:23 am 
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Living in hope
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Good on your Mum, vison. And that was a wise scolding. We don't any of us know how long we'll be around, but clearly the best way to live and affect the world is as if we're going to be around for a long time: plant trees, watch out for kids, take care of the world, take care of people.

Someone planted a tree in my yard, a long time ago. We have owned this house for ten years now, added onto it, plan to stay in it. And someone, maybe when it was built in 1950, maybe before, planted an oak tree. It is straight and tall and beautiful, one of the upright oaks that branches gracefully and makes a rustling canopy that doesn't close out the sky, but casts a pleasant shade. I don't know how tall it is; I have the trig to figure it out but haven't. Sixty feet? Maybe.

The trunk is more than three feet through. It's buried in rhododendrons, but I go in every now and then to touch it, because I like touching such a huge living thing and knowing it's—well, not mine, other than technically, but sharing my home with me. Sheltering and shading me and the people I love.

There's a bay laurel growing two feet from the oak, maybe twenty feet high, whose fragrant citrusy leaves I love to use fresh—I don't need to buy those crumbly mummified bay leaves any more. Our arborist came out, a couple of years after we bought the house, and told us that the oak and the laurel both liked the arrangement and it was doing them no harm.

Then he looked up at the oak and said, "No one's ever touched that tree. No one needs to."

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:53 pm 
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Heart of Oak.
:love:

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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 5:03 am 
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Ozzie and I have been walking to school every morning that we can. Although it is now May 2, it was cold enough this morning that we could see our breath when we walked.

Things have changed along the road since we started our walkings in January, after Christmas holidays. Many mornings in January and February it was dangerously slippery and I pushed along on the shoulder of the road, slogging through the heaps of snow and ice pushed there by the snowplough. Sometimes I took a walking stick, but guess what, when it got wet and frozen, it was like a sort of vertical skate, adding an extra bit of excitement to the “whoops” of slipping. Some mornings the road looked bare and wet, but I learned the hard way it wasn’t, ending up flat on my back so fast I literally don’t remember the fall. I was alone that time, on the return journey. Now the roads aren’t slippery, no matter how much it rains and it has rained, cold sleety rains that make me glad I’m wearing my lucky Irish scarf, gloves, and hiking boots.

Even in January the buds were swelling on the Alder trees and the Indian Plum, and by the end of February there were catkins and pussywillows, and skunk cabbage leaves were poking up through the leafmould in the low spots. I show these things to Oz, I am surprised by how many plants and trees I can name – but I’m ashamed of how many I can’t. Indian Plum, the first precious green leaves and delicate bell-shaped flowers. Salmon berry blossoms, pink as roses.
The black-barked Cascara trees, and describing to Oz how my Dad used to cut strips of Cascara bark and dry them, and take them to the man who sold them on to China. At least we were told it was China – likely not. But China makes a better story.

Now the Elder is blooming. Elder is a very common shrub here, a weed really, and the flowers are neither here nor there and have a skunky sort of smell, but they are Signs of Spring and welcome. The berries that come later are scarlet and lovely, but while the birds love them, people don’t. They aren’t the good purple Elder that makes nice jelly, that kind of Elder doesn’t grow around here. The Mountain Ash is in new leaf, and the Vine Maple. The Big Leaf Maple (Acer acer) is leafing out, but those big leaves take time. Mary Iverson’s Larch is getting its new needles, its odd cones black and wintery yet. Along the fence at the front of her place are two enormous May trees – Hawthornes. The haws are still there, little sour red apples that once were used to make red syrup – like Pomegranate syrup.

Down by the school the Locust trees march along Taylor Road, down Mt. Lehman road, down to Landing Road and then down to the river. They are good fuel wood, the Locust, hard and heavy and yet fast-growing, they were planted here by the riverboat companies a hundred and fifty years ago, firewood for the boilers that drove the paddlewheelers up the Fraser to Yale during the Gold Rush. Last Christmas my husband and I spent a very pleasant evening talking with a professional arbourist, a handsome man with waist length grey hair and an aristocratic nose, a man who loves trees and spends his life among them. His money-making job, working for the Hydro company, is to patrol the roads of this part of the world, looking for dangerous trees, trees that might fall on the power lines. His hobby, his passion, is to wander around just looking at trees and it was no surprise to hear him say that he wished he could wander into Fangorn. A man who loves trees that much is bound to love Tolkien, I think. He was the one who told me why the Locusts are so common here and nowhere else in the Valley, a thing I’d always wondered.

The Red Cedar doesn’t change much, winter to spring. The new growth comes later, or is noticeable later. The puffs of cotton from the cottonwoods make everyone sneeze, but the perfume is lovely. My mother calls it Balm of Gilead, I don’t know why. The bush here is mostly alder and cottonwood with Cedars and Firs scattered in, and vine maples along any creek. In just the right kind of place, where the shade is filtered through trees just coming into leaf, in earth that’s not too wet, and not too dry, the Trilliums bloom. Oz and I looked for them all the last part of March and the first part of April, and my heart sank because I thought they were gone, but then we saw one, and then another, then another, white and solitary flowers we called Easter Lilies when I was a child. We picked them by the armful, and didn’t know that by picking them we probably killed them, the plant has only one flower and three leaves and if those leaves and flowers are picked, there is nothing to make food for its next spring. There used to be masses of them in the bush at home. Now there is no bush there, but a golf course, so whether we picked them or not, they are gone. Here, they were never so common. but in the forty-odd years I’ve lived here I’ve learned where they thrive. They are disappearing as the bush is bulldozed away.

One wildflower there’s plenty of is Bleeding Heart. They are not much to look at but like the Elder, they mean spring and I love them. Oz wants to know why they’re called Bleeding Heart and we decide that it must be their shape and colour, which is, heartish and reddish. They grow in patches with Salal and other sprawling greeneries, carpeting the shoulder of the road. Down on the sides of the ditch the Horsetails are up, and Oz doesn’t believe me when I tell him that in Dinosaur days the Horsetails were big as trees. Horsetails and Canary grass. By fall the Canary grass could be ten feet tall, it is a plague with its razor sharp blades. The road crews usually keep it short, and they usually keep the blackberries out of the ditch, but there are masses of them that no mower ever gets near. If no cars ever came up our road, the blackberries would cover it by fall and we would never be seen again.

Slugs are already getting mooshed on the asphalt. Slugs and earthworms, moving in the morning rain. You look at them, you know, and you think, “That’s me, really. I am as meaningless in the universe as that dead worm,” and your heart sinks and you think you might as well just lie down and give up the ghost. Be as one with your worm brother, so to speak.

But then, this morning the sun was shining and all along the verge and in every yard and pasture we could see Dandelions: cursed by lawnists (I call anal Dandelion-hating suburbites “lawnists”) but not caring. They are cheerful and hardy and they are as yellow as any Daffodil or any Sun anywhere. They are invincible. Spring after spring they pop up, bright and strong. If there was only one in Canada, people would drive for days to see it. When they go to seed, we call them Moonflowers. We picked a handful of Moonflowers and blew the seeds everywhere.

Oz pointed out that the Moonflowers are the same colour as my hair. I decided that I am not a worm, I am a Dandelion.

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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 7:14 am 
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Living in hope
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:love:

Beautiful, beautiful, vison. Thank you.

When I was a little girl in Seattle, how I loved seeing the horsetails and knowing they were dinosaur plants. It still gives me a shiver when I see one now in Oregon, as I do sometimes.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 7:15 pm 
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Hey, thanks, Prim. :hug:

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