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New member from between the Smoky Mtns. and the Blue Ridge

I'm a layman dendrophile who is happy and grateful to join you. I live near Asheville, N.C. and am an admirer of Will Blozan, though I've never met him. I live in his neck of the woods (regionally anyway) near Asheville, N.C. I have enjoyed living near forests in the eastern states in northeastern Ohio, southeastern Ohio, near Killington in Vermont, and in Boone, Charlotte, and Asheville, N.C. I have done a little writing about trees and forests (Mountain Xpress, WNC Woman) and a little volunteering (Western North Carolina Alliance in Madison County and Treasure Trees in Charlotte).

I've enjoyed classes in arboriculture, dendrology,introduction to environmental science, and field biology and ecology.

Thanks for making membership open to people like me.

Carol
by Bosque
Mon May 06, 2013 5:30 pm
 
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The Road to Pilot Mountain

The Road to Pilot Mountain


After the rush of the interstate
Thirty miles per hour
On the country road
Seems so sensuously
Slow.


Noon’s bounty of sun-fall,
Wind with winter’s hint,
Love me all along my out-resting arm.

Path of a butterfly ahead
Bouncing on air
Being of brilliance in orange
Drops onto the road.

Now time rushes to a stop
As I hope for the rising
Above the engine’s hood.

When it doesn’t come I turn behind
180 degrees of desiring
That it made it somehow alive.

Then my mind focuses and knows
I’d not seen summer’s Monarch
But Maple’s falling leaf.

A calendar page
Of summer’s assumptions drops
Acknowledging autumn’s approach.

(An epiphany from abscission—
A growth hormone for me.)


Carol Diamond
I wrote this in my thirties when I lived in Charlotte and decided to shed the expense of car ownership. Friends would rescue me with surprise trips to the country. This day we ended up perched on the edge of a ledge high atop Pilot Mountain. I was frightened until my Cherokee friend told me something I'd never heard before, "Today is a good day to die."
by Bosque
Sat May 11, 2013 4:01 pm
 
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Re: Tree Haiku

Hemlock life and death

Hemlocks die standing
Gasping fish die now below
in once cool water
by Bosque
Thu May 30, 2013 1:01 pm
 
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Re: Tree Haiku

Aspirations

Let your children climb
and fall in love with a tree
making their own world
by Bosque
Thu May 30, 2013 2:26 pm
 
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Re: Tree Haiku

Grateful Respiration

Breathe the forest air
Exchange molecules gladly
Give thanks in your way
by Bosque
Thu May 30, 2013 1:22 pm
 
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Back Yard Pine

The challenge called for courage
The first dare I ever recall
To climb a tree so tall
Like a bet I couldn't hedge.

Little brother and his friend
Atop the big white pine
Taunted, "Come up!" Could I decline?
On this my status would depend.

Though oldest of the gang of ten
In a neighborhood full of boys
A girl could lose her poise
If mired in fear's pen.

First reach brought quick reward--
A yield of sticky sap
My hands served in their wrap
'Round smooth branches top toward.

I hung by arms as feet walked bole
One foot, knee crook--then all of me
Over the first branch of the tree.
I sat to rest and gird my soul.

Then rose to stand and look above
At rays of rungs in tiers from trunk.
I now ascended like a monk
To abbey green I grew to love.



This is another Beginning Creative Writing class poem I wrote years ago. Some of the rhymes are a stretch, and it's kind of simple minded, but I like to think that it goes from superficial competition/status stuff to a more important finding of courage and love of nature. I was "extremely shy" in school (as my third grade report card said) but all-out joyful at home in the outdoors.
by Bosque
Thu May 30, 2013 2:12 pm
 
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The Gully

The Gully

As a child I felt no strong desire to go to Disneyland. We had something much better just a short walk away. Usually we ran. It started with a slide, but no playground equipment stood near. A wilder ride awaited us at the top of the forested ravine. The dirt path through the trees to the creek lay steep-sloped and was best negotiated sitting down. Focused on the imminent descent, I no longer heard the forest birds calling. I stopped noticing the change from bright light to the cool darkness of the woods. My brain noted the place where the big oak loomed against the path, forcing a sharp curve around it.
I bent my legs and held my knees against my chest, thus releasing the brakes of my legs formerly stretched out with their dug-into-the-dirt heels. The ride was fast. Though scary, it was the most fun to go first and be able to watch from the bottom as the other kids took their turns hurtling down the path. Once we’d all reached the bottom, we checked the creek for animal activity first thing. Minnows and water striders (Wikipedia lists 13 common names!) were the main event unless we took time to look under rocks for crayfish.
For us the Gully was a place apart from civilization and its distractions. Our senses came alive there and our bodies reveled in the movement like Wordsworth above Tintern Abbey describing those “aching joys” and “glad animal movements” of his boyhood. In the Gully we heard no people talking in their yards, no lawn mowers, not even distant traffic. Creek music accompanied us from beginning to end. We followed the waterway like a ridge top trail, only our mountain ridge lodged upside down with the “top” deep down in the earth. Instead of high, wide views, we saw an intimate corridor created by the water before us. We felt beckoned by whatever waited around the bend.
The stream through “our” northeastern Ohio hardwood forest was so chockfull of stones that we could “rock hop” along every twist and turn of the deep ravine to its end nearly a mile away at the Chagrin River. Near the end we listened for the waterfall through the woods. This anticipated sound made us run/rock hop faster. “I Hear It!” could have been the name of the falls, because whoever could first discern the water’s roar through the trees always shouted so. We still had to be careful during this acceleration because there was a contest each time we went to the Gully. Whether tacit or spoken, the agreement was whoever misstepped on a rock and slipped a tennis-shoed foot into the stream first lost—and was teased for getting the first “soaker.” I can remember leaping from rock to rock and feeling as graceful as a deer. As Wordsworth wrote, “…like a roe I bounded…by the sides of the deep rivers, and the … streams...” The feeling was so strong and true that often when I see a deer I think of the Gully, even though I never saw one there. In autumn rock hopping’s pace slowed. A Charlotte North Carolina poet, Maureen Ryan Griffin, writes about the Cherokee name “when the leaves are in the water.” During that time when leaves blanket both rocks and water the avoidance of a soaker becomes a nearly impossible feat.
Another impossibility was calling the place anything but “the Gully” when we were kids. Though the creek and big ravine ended spectacularly at the river with its slightly upstream waterfall and lake spread between the woods above it, we didn’t say we were going to the river, the falls, or the lake. It was the trip through the ravine itself that really mattered to us. Like younger children at story time with a favorite book, we looked forward to every familiar part to come. We named these places too: the Grapevine, Picnic Rock, the Skunk Cabbage Patch, the Log, Diamond Camp—each family of siblings had their own camp or fort.
We walked in the Gully in all seasons, and enjoyed watching what was familiar change, yet stay the same. Robins left in the fall, but chickadees, blue jays, and cardinals stayed with us in winter. Once after a big thunderstorm we saw the effects of flooding. The “gully washer” seemed to have deposited more debris than it carried away. Brown leaves wedged together in snags of broken branches, big and small, throughout the Gully. We couldn’t believe what we saw in the Shales. The smooth shale bed had disappeared! Another look revealed it had moved several yards downstream. I swear it was true. I didn’t know such things could happen. I thought only glaciers and volcanoes could move rock beds.
The Grapevine gave me another lesson about change. It hung from a tall tree halfway up the steep hill. Already cut at the bottom for swinging, the vine swayed slightly at this end—a seductive dance initiated by the wind in the tree tops. We took turns swinging. With a double-handed grasp, three or four running steps, and courage, we went soaring out over the creek, turned in the air, and glided back all too soon for a safe landing.
I think the Grapevine was our main destination when we were kids. I went there once after a long time away at college. When I saw the vine still hanging there, the old thrill seeker from childhood came out. I peered up to ascertain the strength of the vine’s anchorage. Seeing nothing amiss in the tangle of trees above, I tested the grapevine with a pull, then grabbed hold and lifted my feet off the ground. It held my weight! I climbed the few steps up the hill and joyfully, bravely, set sail. Reality struck with a thud on my bottom and lots of vegetation on my head. I hope the neighborhood kids were able to find a new one. That was the end of the Grapevine—and my childhood for certain!
The Gully held many discoveries for curious kids. A very pungent one happened the day we found the Skunk Cabbage Patch in a moist depression near the creek. We held our noses, squealed, and otherwise delighted in being disgusted by the bad smell. We used to dare each other to run through it. Did you know that skunk cabbage can push up through the snow and is one of the first flowers of spring? A more agreeable smell came from the soil in the forest. I still remember the first time I got on hands and knees there to push the leaf bed aside and scoop up to my face a double handful of rich, fragrant black soil. It smelled so healthy, like it would be good for you.
Nothing excited us more than finding animals. I remember being in a Tom Thumb stage when all things miniature charmed me. I longed to be small enough to have a seat on the collar of our cat, to see where he went and what his adventures were. In the Gully, little green tree frogs and tiny brown toads satisfied my obsession. A tree frog felt cool on the skin of my palm. I was careful not to squeeze it or let it jump away from too great a height. In adulthood I read a wonderful memoir by Elizabeth Arthur about her summers in a camp in Vermont run by her beloved aunt and uncle. They taught the children so well to respect and love the animals that the kids policed themselves. Woe on to any child who spoke of hurting even the tiniest woodland creature. The title is Looking For the Klondike Stone.
The first water snake I ever saw was in the river at the end of the gully. I didn’t know that snakes could swim and wouldn’t have been more surprised if it had sprouted wings and flown away. We watched it intently and read in its distinctive pattern a warning to stay back—which we did whether we were right or not. I wasn’t irrationally afraid of snakes. As a five year old I had been completely charmed when I turned over a log and found a bunch (or a slither in terms of venery) of wiggling baby garter snakes there.
On rare and special occasions, adults accompanied us to the Gully. When Granny came, we got on each side of her to protect her from falling down the entrance path. We pointed out the slickest rocks to be avoided. Granny, who was raised on a farm and loved the outdoors, made the slower pace interesting by telling us the names of plants such as chicory, wild rose, and stinging nettle. The latter we had called “seven-minute itch” for obvious reasons. I wonder if we got the name from overhearing our parents discuss the Broadway play, or the Marilyn Monroe movie, The Seven-Year Itch? We showed off our physical prowess for our grandmother at the Log, a place where a fallen tree spanned the creek from hillside to hillside, so Granny could praise our high wire act.
Every winter Dad hiked with us to a place near the Grapevine where a big rock sat in the stream. We gathered sticks and Dad taught us to find dry tinder in nooks protected from the snow under the overhanging creek bank. On the rock’s flat top he built a fire and and cooked scrambled eggs and toast. After that, Picnic Rock was christened with a name. Dad made the annual hike fun, but also explained that we could survive being out in the cold if we knew what to do. He told us that wearing layers would help us keep a good comfort level even if we got hot from wading through the snow. Soakers were not okay on subfreezing hikes. They could lead to frostbite. Dad said we needed waterproof boots for winter. He had already taught us how to make a fire to dry socks just in case.
Winter sledding in the Gully required no sleds. A bunch of us would climb the slick slopes to a good starting place. We sat down in a “train” with each child wrapping his legs around the waist of the child in front. The last person shouted “Go!” and we were off. I wonder now how we escaped all the fallen branches on those rides.
In early adulthood my walks there were solitary and centered on the lake beyond the Gully as much as the Gully itself. Once I stretched out in the sun on a dry mudbank that bordered the lake. While lying there idly I dug with my hands just to feel the warm earth. That’s when I discovered the round white turtle eggs buried there. I felt like I had trespassed, but marveled at them before covering them back up.
When we were children an abandoned house stood on the lake shore near the falls. I imagined living there, but it burned down too soon. I never tried to purchase the land and rebuild the house. By the time it might have been possible, I had lived in southern Ohio and found it more rural and wilder than our suburban neighborhood in the north. Residency in Vermont and western North Carolina added to the feeling. But I’ll always be grateful for the Gully of my childhood—and I’ll always be in favor of preserving more wild places for children and all creatures.




Carol Diamond
by Bosque
Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:48 pm
 
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Re: Back Yard Pine

Jenny,

I started seeing a physical therapist occasionally ten years ago. She asked me what my goals were. The first one I gave her was to be able to climb trees again and she understood totally. I haven't been able to do it yet, but I haven't given up either. The sixth story in Robert Fulghum's It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It tells about the time he started to climb a tree in a city park and heard "Young man, this tree is occupied." A white-haired woman was high up in the tree and told him ' "Find your own tree" --friendly but quite firmly.' He later learned from a park worker that she was about 65 and was often in the trees. I'll leave the rest for you to read.

Don't give up!

Carol
by Bosque
Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:00 pm
 
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Genetic engineering

Does anyone have time to educate me about genetic engineering and trees? ArborGen, a South Carolina company, is hoping to sell "millions of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees for planting in the South" (Asheville Citizen-Times, May 29, 2013, p.B1). The International Union of Forest Research Organization Tree Biotechnology 2013 Conference is being held this week in Asheville, N.C. through Saturday. It's theme is Forest Biotechnology: Meeting the Needs of a Changing World. Two hundred people protested outside the conference for three hours. One thousand people in Asheville also recently joined the Monsanto protest last Sunday. I am definitely against what Monsanto is doing in the world, but I don't have enough facts about tree engineering. Is it true that only wild trees of the same species would be affected in their pollination by the genetically engineered trees? (sorry, I can't remember the scientific term for this). Would allowing this genetic modification set a dangerous precedent for other species? How dangerous is this practice for diversity?

Thank you in advance for your time.
by Bosque
Wed May 29, 2013 2:17 pm
 
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Re: Favorite Music Inspired by Nature

And then, on a less lofty note, there's "Rockin' Robin" with lyrics by Bobby Day..."He rocks in the treetops all day long..."
by Bosque
Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:40 pm
 
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Re: Big Ivy/Coleman Boundary

Thanks Brian. I've noticed through your posts that you sure do get around! More power to you.
Carol
by Bosque
Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:13 pm
 
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Biophilia

Here are some quotes that remind me of one of Ed Franks' favorite quotes:


"Humanity is exalted not because we are so far above other living creatures, but because knowing them well elevates the very concept of life." Biophilia, 1984, p. 22.

"I have argued in this book that we are human in good part because of the particular way we affiliate with other organisms. They are the matrix in which the human mind originated and is permanently rooted, and they offer the challenge and freedom innately sought. To the extent that each person can feel like a naturalist, the old excitement of the untrammeled world will be regained. I offer this as a formula of reenchantment to invigorate poetry and myth: mysterious and little known organisms live within walking distance of where you sit. Splendor awaits in minute proportions." Biophilia, 1984, p. 121.

"To arouse biophilia, science is not enough. Money, for all its power, is not enough. Culture--literature, drama, music, painting, filmmaking, the humble activity of learning itself--may be the way to engage the heart." From Edward C. Wolf's essay "Arousing Biophilia" which appeared in Orion magazine Summer, 1989. A colloquium based on this essay was held in March of 1990 at Williams College.
http://arts.envirolink.org/interviews_and_conversations/EOWilson.html

Carol Diamond
by Bosque
Sat Aug 16, 2014 12:20 pm
 
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When I Am Among Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often,
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."

The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, "It's simple,"
they say, "and you, too, have come
into the world to do this, to go easy,
to filled with light, and to shine."

Mary Oliver

This is one of my favorite poems. Mary Oliver has so many wonderful nature poems, including others about trees and forests.
by Bosque
Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:40 am
 
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Rilke poem

If we surrendered
to earth's intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.


From Rainer Maria Rilke's Book of Hours:
Love Poems to God
trans. Anita Barrows
and Joanna Macy
by Bosque
Wed Dec 14, 2016 11:32 pm
 
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Aspirations

Let your children climb
and fall in love with a tree
Making their own world


Carol Diamond
by Bosque
Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:06 am
 
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Grateful Respiration

Breathe the forest air
Exchange molecules gladly
Give thanks in your way


Carol Diamond
by Bosque
Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:03 am
 
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