What a wild and crazy day today! Up early to work on a freelance writing assignment, then off to rehearsal for the Canmore Summer Theatre Festival (bonus – it’s a SUMMER festival, so rehearsals are outside!!!!)
Ran home mid-dance choreography to take part (virtually) in the Red Cedar gala hosted by the Vancouver Public Library (Deep Roots: How Trees Sustain Our Planet was a nominated title this year!!! Woot! Woot!). Thanks to Skype, I was able to deliver a super-quick talk and say hello to everyone… shared a story about my favourite tree, the one that saved my life in the BVI a few years back when I climbed the boulder on the right…
only to discover that once I’d made it to the top I couldn’t get back down again! A tree growing up beside the rock over on the back side saved my bacon, as they say… though it was a perilous descent through prickly branches and over a massive termite nest before I was back on sandy land once again…
Then, raced back over to rehearsals and more dancing… and then home again for more writing! Head. Exploding.
I’m almost done now… still need to do a bit more writing (after the blog, that is), then have a quick peek at the Canmore Ghost Walks scripts (stay tuned for more on that project!) before crashing hard into bed!
Wherever you are, hug a tree when you next see one… That special tree which saved my life? I was hoping for a reunion and a quick snuggle when I was back in the BVI recently, but the tree (along with many others in the islands) was gone, ripped out by the roots when hurricane Irma blasted through last year.
The Tree of Life by Marc Chagall, 1948
Sorry to leave you on a saddish note, but never forget that nothing lasts forever. Appreciate those special connections you have today – with trees, your cat, your folks, your kids… They matter.
On the walk to town…
At first, it seems as if the world has gone all monochromatic on you… And then, the subtle splashes of colour appear…
One of the first ornamental trees we planted when we moved here was a Japanese maple – two, actually. One has stayed tiny and red, the other has become a giant (for the diminutive maple). Both Dad and I have always liked the delicate leaves and interesting forms of these trees.
Japanese Maple by E. Colin Williams
While Dad has been sketching away in his studio, I’ve been a regular at the library, checking out various books about trees including a couple by Thomas Pakenham. In the book, Meetings with Remarkable Trees I found lots of odd information about trees with strong personalities. The photos and artwork in the book are inspiring and do, indeed, capture something of the individual nature of trees. What was perhaps the coolest thing, though, was the way a previous patron had pressed leaves between many of the pages.
Leaves, mostly maple, have been carefully pressed between the pages of this library book about trees…
So what should I do, librarian friends? Do I leave the leaves alone and let someone else have the pleasure of finding them? Or do I remove them because maybe it isn’t such a good idea to have fauna lurking inside library books?
Posted in Art, Books, Trees
Tagged Art, artist, drawing, e. colin williams, japanese maple, library books, pakenham, pressed leaves, sketch, trees
Dad is having his revenge. Today as we were driving to the local raw food/wrap shop to pick up scraps for the pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, et al (yes, there is still some farming going on around here) he started singing the old English Christmas carol, The Holly and the Ivy and then launched into a list of factoids relating to holly (evergreen, red-berry-bearing and manly) and ivy (evergreen, sinewy and feminine). The fact both plants are green in the depths of winter is reason enough to celebrate them in song, but what was really interesting was the way each had been assigned a gender.
Holly Tree by E. Colin Williams
(Tree a day drawing project)
This tradition of association with one gender or the other was taken to some strange lengths back in the day. According to Dad (and his online sources), ancient Brits (as in, folk of the British Isles who lived long, long ago – not doddering fools living in Leicester) used to hold singing contests when there wasn’t much else to do when the days are short and frosty. It was the men against the women, singing their hearts out in praise of their respective shrubbery, dissing that of the opposition. All, of course, was done in good fun and, apparently, at the end of these vocal feuds everyone kissed and made up under the mistletoe.
Hm. I was still pondering all this when Dad mentioned a powder room and I immediately thought of a small room in which British types powdered their noses and otherwise readied themselves for well-mannered conversations with other primped and prepped pommies. “They were lined with copper,” Dad was on a roll and, as I was imagining what fancy powder rooms they used to have, he was chatting on about how the fine sailing vessel HMS Victory (the one Lord Nelson sailed into the Battle of Trafalgar) was made with wood from 6,000 oak trees and did I know that it was the oldest-still-in-commission ship in the British fleet and currently serves as a museum ship… All of this was coming at me rapid fire as I was driving and, I confess, I was still struggling to understand why anyone would line a powder room with copper.
“So, why did they line them with copper?”
“Because of sparks.”
At which point I burst out laughing because, of course, Dad was talking about powder rooms in old wooden gun ships where, yes, sparks would be a bit of a problem with all that gunpowder lying around. And I was thinking of little old English ladies who had consumed one too many helpings of cabbage and then slipped off to the powder room for an illicit cigarette.
Posted in Art, Blog, Trees
Tagged Art, cabbage, drawing, e. colin williams, hms victory, holly, ivy, lord nelson, trees
Until we arrived, there hadn’t been a whole lot of snow in Kelowna. One afternoon, though, there was a sudden flurry, which sent me scurrying outside with a camera.
With the heavy cloud cover and swirling snowflakes, both sound and light were muted and even without converting to black and white, the world did appear in soft shades of muted grey.
Except, of course, these trees… I think they are
Douglas Fir Ponderosa Pine trees, but maybe Kelowna locals (or tree buffs) can help me out [thank you Karen, for your comment. I knew someone would set me straight)! Brilliant red blistering hot against the cool backdrop – they were spectacular.
Close-up, the bark seemed ancient and very alive surrounded by all that wintery dormancy.
It was such a pleasure to take a good camera (thanks, Dad!) and wander around with no purpose other than to take a few photos. Though my iphone is great and does an amazing job of capturing the many moments of the everyday, it’s a whole other experience to be outside looking, looking, looking. Everything seems suddenly fascinating in a way I rarely take time to notice.
Note to self: More photo walks next year, please. That was fun!