Jewelled celebration

Vernal days are here!

cedar juniper elders

waving jewelled wands



©2017 Ontheland

These coniferous trees fascinate me.  When I look at them closely I am amazed to observe growing edges that look like buds.  It appears that their scale-like leaves are growing towards buds rather than outwards from them (I could be totally mistaken—I tried to capture this detail in the photos).  Shown are two different types of trees.   In my pocket guide the top one appears to be a Northern White cedar (Thuja occidentalis).  The bottom one appears to be a juniper—my book calls it an Eastern Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana).

These budding growing branches celebrate spring (vernal) equinox— Carpe Diem #1184, Spring Equinox.

Three seasons

Yesterday afternoon I went down to the lake for a brief walk—it was -9° C but the sparkling sun called me.  I wrote a short poem and took a few photos:

Three seasons converge—

On dusted glass gems

smooth branch shadows lean

over brown leaf scatter

as faithful spring buds swell.






Winter trees—Pilgrimage (6)


Pilgrim of stillness,

 soft feather tips tread the sky,

journey towards light.

©2017 Ontheland

A message found in The Pilgrimage by Paul Coelho is that pathways to enlightenment are open to everyone.   Miracles such as beauty, love, generosity, and so on can be grasped and embodied by all. For me, the intricate beauty of bare tree branches against the sky is a winter miracle.

Tree bark closeups–Weekly Photo Challenge

In response to Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: ‘Abstract’ , I am sharing tree bark photos that I took on March 30, 2016.  I was attracted to the rich colour blends, shapes, and signs of new life.  The photo challenge this week was to share images that feature shapes, colour, and texture rather than specific ‘objects’.





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Winter brush in sunlight–Weekly Photo Challenge

The theme this week for the Daily Post Photo Challenge is ‘harmony’. I reviewed photos I took this week and was reminded that we had a few sunny days!  The photos I am posting feature trees and thistle plants. In each, I detect a touch of harmony.  In the first, I am struck by how the spruce grow in groups of two or three.  They appear to huddle in a winter scene.


The next photo features a stand of trees that subtly all seem to lean to the right. I like the brilliant white clouds highlighting the sky in the background.


Finally, I took this picture to feature the thistle in the foreground–they failed to stand out as much as I had hoped. Nevertheless, I feel a kind of harmony in this woodland scene with a frozen marsh and houses in the background.


 ∼ Pictures were taken near Kingston, Ontario, Canada ∼


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Forests, trees, and people–Writer’s Quote Wednesday

forest-411491_640.jpgIt suddenly came to me: ‘This week I will post quotes about trees.’  A  TreeHugger article had presented itself in my email —it was about a book to be released in English in September, The Hidden Life of Trees by  German forest ranger, Peter Wohlleben. Applying experience and science, he talks about how trees communicate and cooperate with each  other. I have no quotes from his book as the English version is not out yet.  Instead, here is an example of  what scientists are saying about trees from The Secret Life of Trees by Colin Tudge:

The revelations build by the week: ….. how they speak to one another, warning others downwind that elephants or giraffes are on the prowl, how they mimic the pheromones of predatory insects that are eating their leaves.  Every week the insights grow more fantastical—trees seem less and less like monuments and more and more like the world’s appointed governors, ultimately controlling all life on land…but also the key to its survival.

Colin Tudge, The Secret Life of Trees: How they Live, and Why they Matter, 2005, Crown Publishing Group, New York.

forest-56930_640.jpgA second tree-themed discovery: a  recent blog post by Your Nibbled News called Caring for trees the ultimate job–Taking care of the future today.  It opens with a photo with this caption:

Caring for trees would be the ultimate job for me. This desire has no direct relationship to the biblical Garden of Eden. Trees protect the planet and humanity from imminent disaster. They should be protected, respected, groomed and nurtured. They are this planet’s oldest sentinels. They deserve our care and consideration.

Warmed by these ideas and words, I found two more quotes  to feature. In the first, Sylvia Earle, scientist, speaks about the intricate web of life visible to those who have the opportunity, time, and inclination to look.

Look at the bark of a redwood, and you see moss. If you peer beneath the bits and pieces of the moss, you’ll see toads, small insects, a whole host of life that prospers in that miniature environment. A lumberman will look at a forest and see so many board feet of lumber. I see a living city.

Sylvia Earle, American Scientist, 1935-

I have lived in cities most of my life.  The house I grew up in had one maple tree in front and one maple tree out back.  The whole yard, except the part facing the road, was surrounded by a tall cedar hedge regularly trimmed by my father. Sometimes in the autumn my father took us for walks in the woods; and for three weeks in the summer, I explored the woods near a rented cottage.  These were exciting times.

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.

William Blake, 1757-1827

robin-534826_640.jpgThese words, written so many years ago seem to still reflect the world–there are many people who see the natural world as a backdrop to be utilized and organized by humans.  Yet there are many people who care about nature.  I believe everyone has the capacity for imagination and experiencing joy in the natural world (and of course, having imagination isn’t necessarily tied to appreciation of trees).   I  believe that both imagination and connection to nature are desirable human qualities that can flourish or fade away. These potentials can be eroded by pressures of survival, ambition, religious worldviews, and economic philosophies.  Whether or not people connect with trees, birds, and so on, is influenced strongly by life experiences  and choices from birth onwards.

Photos are CCO Public Domain, courtesy of
In response to Writer’s Quote Wednesday and Be Writing on Wednesday (BeWoW).


Hidden Life of Trees

Beech and oak trees at Appley Park by Naturenet

A forest
gathering of friends.
Peaceful souls
weave branches,
entwine roots, send messages,
whisper through their leaves.

Do my cells
have identities?
Can they live
from my large complex being?
How would they survive?

Who am I?
A cog or the wheel?
Maybe both?
And the trees,
Are they each a soul or part
of a forest's brain?

Recently I was fascinated by an article called: Trees in  the Forest are Social Beingsfeaturing  “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries From a Secret World“, by Peter Wohlleben, a German forest ranger and best-selling author.  These poems are reflections inspired by the article.

In response to Jane Dougherty Poetry Challenge #17:  Shadorma. The theme this week is ‘Trees’ and the form is Shadorma: six lines per stanza with syllable count: 3-5-3-3-7-5.

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