1.Let’s start with other trees. The baobabs are what got me thinking of big trees, so here’s what is labeled as the world’s largest spruce tree, near Kalaloch Lodge in Olympic National Park. This isn’t my favorite park, but the trees were impressive. It’s somewhat humbling to think of this tree having been standing here so many years. It has seen more than any of us ever will.
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2. Not to the baobabs, yet. Staying on point with the idea of trees witnessing more than humans, here’s a coffee table book you may enjoy. I have a habit of buying books like these because they look so interesting, which they are, but they are also a bit unwieldy. Still, weighing heft against content, Wise Trees measures up.
It’s been a hectic month, so I thought I’d go with an easy read for today. Nothing too taxing, just a celebration of the worlds that open up when you have a chance to take a walk.
1.After the rains of the previous week, we finally made it down to the river last weekend and ended up just north of Violette’s Lock, on the C&O Canal towpath. There was plenty of mud to dodge, but the weather was fantastic, and the humidity and insects are still at manageable levels. The river, though–the river was rushing, carrying so much water and debris following the deluge. It felt good to be out and just walk. Certainly one of those days that made me wish I had a pack full of food and water, with plans to be out for hours. The cherry on top was spotting the first oriole of the season, not to mention leafy green views like the one above.
3.The Dark Mountain Project’s Dougald Hine interviews Jem Bendell, a professor of sustainability leadership at the University of Cumbria, in the U.K., about resilience, relinquishment, and restoration. Alongside that element of the discussion is this wonderful, and metaphoric, anecdote about a response following one of his talks:
“I remember one lady came up to me and said she used to be a pilot in the Outback of Australia and in her training, they used to do quite a spooky exercise which was called ‘extend the glide’. And it’s about, if the aircraft has a problem with the engines and they cut out, how do you then extend the glide to just give yourself more time to find yourself a safer place for the crash landing, but also on the off-chance that the engines might kick in again. And she said, that’s what you’re inviting us to start working on: how do we extend the glide?”
(You can read Bendell’s thoughts on the interview here.)
4. A lunar halo, as viewed in Chile, was named the Washington Post Capital Weather Gang’s picture of the week.
5. Poet Robert Cording’s prose piece, Cloud Shapes and Oak Trees, about art and experience. Keep reading, and you’ll get to a beautiful set of beliefs he issues later in the piece, introducing them with these lines:
“I often ask my students to write a statement of what they believe and what they would like their writing to accomplish. In that spirit, here’s my own little credo. I believe words evoke and depend on a reality apart from the acts of verbal reference, although poetry and, to my mind, theology are as Wallace Stevens said, ‘a revelation in words by means of words.’ I write, first and foremost, to honor the mystery of creation. Here are some of the assumptions that underlie my work…”
Among those assumptions are this one, which I include because I appreciate it when writers quote Wendell Berry:
“We must love this world—not to figure it out or even understand it, but as Wendell Berry says, ‘to suffer it and rejoice in it as it is.'”