Archive for September, 2011

Balbo Park Bench

Photo by Jane Rae Brown

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David’s tree story



2 Growing up in Northfield, we had two trees in the

3 front yard that were probably 50 yards apart. And my

4 father — I had two brothers. My father had the idea

5 of putting a rope high between the two trees and

6 fixing a pulley system with a rope and a round seat.

7 And then he took a — probably a one-story ladder,

8 leaned it up against the higher tree, and you could

9 take the swing up with you, put the round swing

10 between your legs and glide down between the trees.

11 And so that was our own little amusement park in the

12 front yard

13 Anyone ever get hurt?

14 No. No one ever got hurt surprisingly. We even got

15 creative in the fall. We would rake the leaves and

16 then burn them. And then of course you’d go over

17 them — not flaming, but smoldering. Do something

18 kind of daring.

19 But the trees weren’t, you know, extremely mature.

20 And now I drive by the house in Northfield and

21 they’re fortunately still there. But they’re very

22 mature.

23 Did you bend them?

24 No, they were quite strong when we had them. But the


1 rope had to be a good 15 feet in the air at the high

2 point, maybe 20. Not quite 20. But the rope was

3 angled enough that you could do that. And I think my

4 two older brothers, myself, and my sister, all that

5 was a tremendous enjoyment for us and the neighbor

6 kids. Liability. Think of liability today. No. No

7 one every got hurt.

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Must be apple picking time?

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In buildings too long

A dear friend sent me this poem from a blog to which she subscribes, entitled Unfolding Light. The author just happens to be a friend of her’s. Touched by its sensitivity, I wrote the author asking permission to post, to which he generously replied: You are free to share, quote, spread around and otherwise multiply any of my things. Looking at your lovely web site, and the intriguing paper rounds project, I think I might have to dig out some other poems about trees. (I walk in woods every morning, so trees are a big part of the daily reflections that I write.) I’m delighted to feel even this little connection with someone else doing something beautiful.

I too am delighted. The poem—

In buildings too long

In buildings too long
without letting herself out of windows,
without crawling around enough,
she finally escaped
into an untended lot
and began the work
of healing her bond with the earth.
She hunched
and stitched her attention,
thread by thread,
with each pebble, each blade of grass,
each little bundle of dirt and dead roots,
each tendril of weed and nameless bug,
until she had woven a web of tenderness
with a little tumult of soil
and its sky, no wider than her knee.
Despairing of the vastness of it all,
she went to bed that night weary
and a little dubious.
But she should have known:
in the night those threads out in the dark
grew, as they do,
rooting among trees,
conversing knowingly with birds,
until by dawn the whole earth
was woven again into a living whole,
eager to greet her
with the tenderest love.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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Photo by Pamela Paulsrud

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Leslie’s first tree story

Still more from the open house and OFFICIAL COURT REPORTERS –


2 In 1996 I was — I was pregnant with a baby. And she

3 and I got sick. She passed after she as born. And

4 we moved shortly after to a new home. We had to

5 move. And in order to heal, I found myself trimming

6 underneath this huge evergreen tree that was in the

7 very front of our yard. It was very close to the

8 house. And in time, to recover, I was really sick

9 from it. It took about a year. And I stayed

10 underneath the tree. And just no one had ever

11 trimmed it, and it was just huge (indicating) and

12 tall. So I would just climb up and trim the dead

13 branches.

14 And then we moved from there, and eventually someone

15 bought that home. And then I saw that that tree was

16 up for an option for the Botanic Garden. They were

17 looking for a Christmas tree, and they had their eye

18 on three different trees in the area. And they ended

19 up choosing that tree. And so it was like in the

20 newspaper. They cut it down. It was very close to

21 the house. And so they brought it to the Botanic

22 Garden. And they put, like, 10,000 Italian lights

23 on. And it was the Christmas tree for that year

24 And I called up the woman who ran it, and I said



1 that’s a really special tree to me. And I told her

2 my daughter’s name, Zahava, and she called it

3 Zahava’s tree. And we visited, and we took a

4 picture.

5 Then many many years later, as I was working with an

6 intuitive, clearing different things, she said to me,

7 “Well, I know that you are Jewish, but there’s this

8 Christmas tree, an evergreen tree, crumpled in your

9 spine, energetically speaking.” And she said, “Does

10 that make any sense?” And I said, “Yes, it makes a

11 lot of sense.” So, I told her what my connection was

12 to that, and we cleared the tree, the tree — all the

13 gifts the tree had given to me, and its connection to

14 that event and to that time together that we spent

15 together.

16 There’s more to the story, but basically — I mean, I

17 have poems about it and writings about it. But

18 basically that’s one of the stories of being

19 connected to the tree, and that it says in you, you

20 know, you don’t go far. They don’t go far.

21 Oh, I know what the connection is. Then there was

22 Yom Kippur coming up, and Day of Atonement. And I

23 went to a river, and I played the flute, and I think

24 I tossed some kind of prayer. It landed on a leaf on



1 the river, and it floated down. And then I went to

2 the person’s house where this tree was. And I

3 knocked on the door. And I said I need to just

4 connect, make a connection with the place where this

5 tree had been. You see that dip in your — you know.

6 She said yes. They were the same couple that donated

7 the tree. And I went to that spot. I think I

8 brought flowers and I brought water, and I played the

9 flute just to make our connection with the leaf full

10 circle. That was it. That was the story for me.


Contributed by Leslie Schechtman

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We Love Trees

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Jane’s tree story




2 When I was growing up there was a cherry tree outside

3 our kitchen door. And it had this incredible branch,

4 went straight out sideways, horizontal. And we used

5 to ride it as a horse. And in that one spot in Iowa

6 I probably traveled the whole west. I galloped

7 across the whole country on this make-believe horse.

8 It was a wonderful memory. Spirit Lake, the

9 northwest corner. In one spot I traveled the world.
















Contributed by Jane Rae Brown

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Leaves of Glory

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Linda’s tree story

Another story from my open house and OFFICIAL COURT REPORTERS –


2 Let me see. I have a few tree stories at our house.

3 My favorite one I told Pam was my grandfather was

4 born in Ireland. He loved trees. Loved planting

5 trees. And I said he loved planting trees at six in

6 the morning in our back yard, especially in my Dad’s

7 back yard. We used to laugh that we could hear like

8 his shovel in the back yard. And we said jokingly

9 that you could hear the wind from my Dad’s door

10 opening, my parents’ bedroom door opening, and a gust

11 of wind that blew underneath your bed room door early

12 in the morning to kind of, like the little sounds

13 that wake you.

14 And he was running out because he knew that something

15 was going on in the back yard. And my grandfather

16 had a — what was it? Like a really — I’m trying to

17 think of the car — an Oldsmobile. And he had

18 shovels and a wheelbarrow that he could keep in his

19 trunk. And his trunk was spotless. His shovel, it

20 was like he shined them. They were as shiny as a

21 badge. They were spotless.

22 But he would come in, and his favorite tree was a

23 blue spruce. And for each of our First Communions he

24 planted a blue spruce for each one of us kids



1 But when we moved, all those trees stayed of course

2 in the house we grew up in.

3 So my grandfather felt inclined to kind of replant a

4 few more trees when we moved out to this house.

5 And it was actually because we’d just wake up in the

6 morning on Saturday morning. And my grandfather

7 would be doing the thing he loved, which was planting

8 trees in our back yard.

9 Without asking my Dad, he would just decide on a

10 place that he thought was best. And it was always,

11 my Dad would be, like, you know, it would be nice if

12 you could at least say you’re coming over to plant

13 trees.












Contributed by Linda Barrett

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Pin Oak

Contributed by Cheryl Mahowald

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Francie’s Tree Story

I am grateful to a good friend who is a court reporter (and incredible artist and calligrapher)—as she graciously recorded stories told quite spontaneously at an open house one winter day.



2 About 12 years ago a friend and I were living in

3 Montana. We went out to Idaho. He took me to this

4 forest. And all the trees — it was so enchanted.

5 All the trees had fallen years ago. There had been a

6 fire. And they were burned out in the middle, but

7 some of them were still standing. And you could

8 crawl into a hole in the tree and stand inside this

9 old wood of what had once existed. And there was a

10 hot spring river running through the forest about

11 October, first snow. There was some snow on the

12 ground. And it was just starting, flurries in the

13 sky.

14 And the hot spring river was going through these

15 trees that had, like, their roots had all these

16 gnarled knots like an old woman’s fingers. And the

17 river was steaming up. It just felt like time didn’t

18 mean anything there. And, that just like a little

19 pocket of magic.

20 And we would go inside of these trees and look up.

21 And the wood was all charred. And because of wind

22 and time it had twisted like that. And then, to find

23 these little flowers and moss and mushrooms growing

24 inside. I never forgot that forest. A whole forest



1 of trees. Just the feeling of eternity in there.
Contributed by Francie Corry

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Earlier this month I posted the beautiful paper rounds from Yuko Wada/Japan. Included in the envelope was another carefully wrapped package with the contribution from her friend, Misa Moriyama—who used the Chinese character “tree” in a most intriguing manner. Enjoy!

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Photo by Pamela Paulsrud

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Without wondering

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