Monday, January 15, 2018

Back again

Well, that small hiatus was brought to you courtesy of the Linguistic Society of America conference.  I actually think it might be worth writing, at some point soon, about what I was there for; I was privileged to be able to attend and participate in a workshop which brought a number of indigenous scholars to the conference so we could talk about how to incorporate indigenous ways of knowing into the academic discipline of linguistics.  It's definitely worth a post (or ten).

Meanwhile, I am still playing with the camera when I can, and today's post is trees.  I'm not sure I've mentioned my lifelong love affair with trees before.  Some of my happiest memories are of climbing trees as a girl, and I used to scope out the best trees for climbing and sitting in wherever I went (I had favorite trees on my college campus, for example; finding trees that are good to read it is especially important, in my opinion).  I've somehow lost the climbing habit, but I never really lost the practice of paying attention to trees, and in the last couple of years, that habit has only gotten stronger.  I've finally given myself permission to just greet them out loud, and it makes me very happy.  For many years, my affections were given to live oaks and to redwoods - this is perhaps obvious for a Californian.  But any time that I have really become located in a place, walking the same trails day after day, week after week, year after year, trees sneak up on me.  My first memory of the bay laurel, for example, is one of scent, of walking on my favorite trail above Berkeley's campus and smelling something spicy and warm and wonderful, and thinking at first that it must be someone's cologne.  But I kept smelling it on my walks, and the day came when I finally tracked it down to a tree.  That scent always makes me think of ferns and redwoods and fog and my friend Leela and our dogs.

Recently, it's been sycamores.  I never really paid attention to sycamores before, and then I noticed this one particular sycamore, which, having begun its life in the creek bottom, decided that it needed more.  It has flung an arm up the bank of the river, planted it near the side of the trail, and hoisted itself for the skies.  You have just got to admire a spirit like that!  Nothing's going to stop that tree from claiming what it sees as its rightful share of sunshine.
One of the things I've noticed about sycamores on my walks is how they reach up above the live oaks in the river bottom.  They really do like to have their feet wet, but their branches high in the sky.

My little damaged live oak continues to recover from losing most of its crown.  I check in on it regularly.

All right.  I am knitting, and have things to show next time.  But in the meantime, low tides keep calling, and we keep going.  Here's a photo taken at the last low tide just before Tess left for London (!!).  Happy Monday, y'all!


Wanderingcatstudio said...

I love trees too, but Ive never been much of a climber (afraid of heights and clumsy!) I love finding one with nice big roots to nestle your butt in!

Allison said...

I planted a live oak sprout when I was about 10. It's still in the backyard of the house I grew up in. My daughter and nieces and nephews would climb it! And I made my first phone call to my now husband while I was sitting in a tree... I hope your live oak recovers. I look forward to seeing what you've been knitting!

Mary Lou said...

I have a clear memory of smelling a bay laurel while in California with my sisters. We were all really excited to find the item from our spice jars in the wild. Sycamores are the trees of my childhood. They don't grow in this climate, but we loved peeling the bark and messing with their pom pom pods. I used to love climbing trees, as well. It's been a while, I must say...

Willow said...

Since I'm a Pacific Northwesterner by birth, I tend to favor fir trees. Yes, my brother and I climbed them. And the cherry tree in my grandparents' back garden was a fave too as we could eat the fruit.
Today I was walking along a trail with eucalyptus leaves blowing to the ground--what a heavenly fragrance.

twinsetellen said...

Wilson and I tried climbing one of our apple trees last summer, just to prove we still could. We got about 5 feet up, took a photo, and patted ourselves on the back for not breaking a leg. Or two.