On the ground I stand tall like a tree at the trunk of my tree. “Hello, loved tree. It’s me and I’m here to enjoy your summer shade”. Looking upward I see the tree’s heart radiating branches in full leaf. They move with the wind and their swaying makes a music that cools and comforts. The sun finds it’s way through the windows of the fragrant canopy and I find my place once again in nature’s cathedral.
My loved tree is a copper beech. She’s an old-fashioned ornamental variety common to New England farms, estates, and botanical parks. These trees can reach heights over 150 feet and have wide spreading branches and a large root structure. My tree is young at 40 years and 50 feet tall, and she could reign another 150 years like some of the legendary copper beech trees that still thrive in Maine. The silvery bark is smooth and looks almost like skin on the dramatically articulated limbs that are shaped like human muscles. She is a symbol of strength, knowledge, sustenance, and individualism with a grand presence that provides a space to be present like a house that welcomes me home. Her leaves are a luminous green-washed red in July and gold-infused red in October. Yes, she is a lovely and sassy redhead, a goddess of trees. My art spirit is inspired.
Trees connect us with our creative nature while teaching us about human nature. These woody perennials endure in our experience and memory of experience, and can feel familiar like an old friend we know and who unconditionally knows us. Landmarks of our natural experience, trees are among the oldest continuously living organisms with some species living for thousands of years, and species with shared root systems can remain productive for tens of thousands of years. Longevity is the way of the tree in an environment where it can thrive away from the buzz-saw sound of change. Trees mark our sense of time in a place and are often planted to celebrate events and traditions, create a landscape, or to honor people. We are spirituality connected to trees, rooted together in our places and experiences we grow through the seasons ever wiser and expanding. Like a church, the tree reaches up toward heaven while the roots reach under into the earth’s rich soil with equal balance. This is the symbol of the Tree of Life, a universal metaphor for the evolution and interconnectedness of all life on the planet.
My loved copper beech tree lives at Laudholm Farm on the Wells Reserve where I will be hosting Art HOPE Creative Wellness Walks this summer beginning tomorrow June 30, and on July 28 and August 25, 10am to noon. With nature inspiring the senses we’ll be taking a gentle hike to see “Bella” and many other trees, grasses, flowers, and fauna. Create a nature journal and enjoy studio arts on the great lawn at the historic site. High summer is a perfect time to take a creative wellness retreat with your loved tree.