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July 16, 2012


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That was lovely in all ways. I love trees and writing about them and pictures, and I like this painting and these words. And it's still there with so much we love and have lost, back in time we can't reach.

We must and will pay the piper for beauty and for dancing out of step with the world. And that, I believe, is fine. Every true quest has a cost, a scar, a payment to be made.

We're just lucky that we have the ability to choose, when so many do not.

Beautiful blur of a painting. Essay makes it blurrier.

Beautiful, Beth, both painting and words.

Mmmm. I too have wept for felled trees and raged at men bearing chainsaws. And raged at insurance companies too, that I sometimes think would prefer a treeless world where no leafy canopies share company with costly properties.

Beautifully written, Beth.

I liked this, Beth. May I recommend Roger Deakin's Wildwood to you, if you haven't already read it. It's a sort of paean to the tree. (Small thing: eke, not eek).

Perhaps you'd feel sightly more comforted if you regard the willow as pollarded. The word has the advantage of being reasonably ancient and sounds less brutal than chain-sawn. Even with pollarding there is no escaping the immediate aftermath but gradually thin branches start sprouting in profusion and the tree eventually assumes a Dennis-the-Menace look. I should confess this sort of detail doesn't comfort me. Nature works far too slowly and that's why we employ a gardener.

"After I'd meditated for an hour, the incense burned down to ash, candle extinguished, I'd come out into the night, and to my polished mind, open, newly innocent, every sensation appeared fresh, important, astonishing. The Milky Way had never seemed so vast, the air so exhilarating, the snow under my feet so white. And there the willow loomed: hugely alive, pulsating with being-ness and a quality of home that strangely did not feel closed to me. I stopped trying to paint it or write about it, but just stood there, night after night, as if it were part of the meditation ritual; looking up, not thinking, I let it tell me whatever it had to say."

Beth, I had to quote this passage back to you because it expresses so precisely and beautifully what I too have felt in certain moments when everything appears transcendentally clear and more alive than ever. The painting too has something of that "newly innocent" feeling. To keep that open awareness functioning day after day, that's the goal, isn't it?


Oh, Luisa! I'm speechless.

Thank you so much. And how remarkable it is that this willow continues to give life to things.

Beth, thank *you* :)

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.