As dawn rises I look out of my window; am constantly appreciative of the trees that surround me. Their dark silhouettes like many arms reach out to embrace, ask little, and yet their presence nets me in a continuum. I am held within a complex system, supported by their life-giving essence.
This connection is honoured in The League of Canadian Poets’ Anthology, ‘Heartwood: For The Love Of Trees.’ The very title speaks to this place. Heartwood at its most basic level is in the centre providing adequate support for the tree. Just as our organ transports life nutrients, trees are crucial to our well being and survival.
Leslie Strutt, editor of this anthology, feels passionately about the place trees hold. This sparked her vision to call forward poets from every province and territory, as Amazon states, “to celebrate the immeasurable value trees have for the environment and the soul.”
“Trees matter,” wrote Strutt from the 288-page anthology, “and we have written about them with the windows of our hearts open, breathing in the good air that the forests provide.”
Diana Beresford-Kroeger from her forward writes “The entire music of the universe is held in the trees. It is amplified again, again, and again within the forest. To listen to this music is to meditate. Taken alone, this is sufficient reason to make all forests sacred. And us accountable.”
I was therefore thrilled to have one of my poems selected for the anthology, which joined local poet Norma Kerby with her poem ‘Punk tree’ and Harold Feddersen. The anthology was announced at the recent Rural Writers Retreat, where Harold read his poem, “Windfall.”
My own poem, ‘Survival’ was in conversation with local artist/writer/creative soul Noreen Spence whose work continues to inspire our northern town. Her mural, in collaboration with other artists, speaks to the place trees hold for us.
I am lucky enough to have one of her works in my reading nook titled, ‘The Myth of Skin.’ Noreen quotes Audrey Grescoe, “The roots of coast redwood trees extend four to six feet down and 125 feet out from the tree….In one experiment, marked water put into one redwood was detected in another 500 feet away.” With this information Noreen provocs us with the question, “Where do you end off and I begin” in the relationship we have with our autonomy. I leave you with this inquiry. We are not separate. We need to take care of our trees as if our life depends on it, which it does.