led by Kathe Izzo, at the education center
and grounds of Olana, Hudson, NY, October 8, 2011
"... trees live quite convincingly in the same filament of air we inhabit..."***
In light of this passage by Annie Dillard [link above, p. 88], for this exercise, go outdoors, connect with, consider, and write about trees...
Trees like to herd. They occupy the landscape like vast silent benevolent armies, their species unfolding over millenia and surviving in a way wholly different from ours - and by ours I mean humans, such as myself, who sits now inhaling the same air that they breathe - trees all around me, and in the distance an unbroken glimpse of choral backdrop of forest. The same air - and yet I'm told that I inhale oxygen, and exhale CO2. I don't know this experientially - I'll take their word on that. And the trees that surround me - don't they do just the opposite, conveniently, and rather ingeniously & efficiently - take in carbon dioxide & replenish the air with what living animal species such as myself desperately, fragilely, tenuously, need to breathe - that is, oxygen?
And yet trees need oxygen too, and so their roots, deep in the earth, work through the soil, break it up - so that deep in a realm that I so long as I'm alive, will never dwell - quietly partake of the same O2 that it seems, we all need.
Gustave Caillebotte (French, 1848–1894), Femme assise sous un arbre (Woman Seated Under a Tree), c. 1874, oil on canvas,
46 cm (18.11 in.) x 38 cm (14.96 in.), private collection