Thursday, January 14, 2010

THEME THURSDAY: SURFACE




I’ve always had this very strange fascination with old gnarled tree roots, the kind of roots that have burst forth to the surface of the soil like Merlin’s languid fingers. They tickle the earth and in time become covered with a coat of deep green lichen. They embark outward on a journey of discovery, for something more- something once feared to be buried and lost. They seem forgotten in years of dormancy but waiting for the opportunity to spring forth once more to reveal that life is still contained there.

When I was a very young art student, I had this enigmatic professor who took my studio class out on drawing days to forgotten cemeteries in search of the most interesting trees with these wayward surface roots, so large that one could carve a bench from them and certainly called to mind roots from Tolkien’s Fangorn forest. I sat, mesmerized, before stately oaks and maples, ancient, weathered, hypnotic and seductive. I longed to know their history, to be close to them, and to glimpse into a mirror of the past to see all that transpired before them. I still do.

Why do roots that normally stay underground, cloaked in darkness, emerge from the soil? Science explains that roots often grow more shallowly beneath the soil than many of us ever imagined; it depends largely on the type of tree. The surface soil might erode and make way for the roots to expand and erupt, in very much the same way that a tree trunk expands with age. The older more mature roots of trees will increase and grow larger, waiting until the time is right to rise to the surface, spread, and extend outward. To me this is a strange sort of freedom from the depths of the earth. Is this a final chance for these great wonders to reveal that there is more there than meets the eye? I believe that they could be making a plea to the natural world and to all that stumble upon them, that they might truly be seen.

19 comments:

willow said...

A beautiful, tree hugging, take on the theme Rebecca. I've always felt a spiritual connection to trees, as well.

Brian Miller said...

love to take walks in the woods and i too am fascinated by trees and roots and all sorts of amazing things found there...

Protege said...

A poignant take on a theme.
I love trees, magnificent life forms that are so essential for our survival.
I agree with the roots that stretch above surface; at all times leaving us with an enchanted sensation.;)
xoxo
Zuzana

The Clever Pup said...

Unique

Mmm said...

"that they might truly be seen"
-- Yes, get this, rather like my take on the topic too but with trees! Clever, poignant post indeed. Love it.

This too reminds me of my very ancient Great Aunt Joan who lived in Wales, on the base of the Brecon Beacons among some very old deciduous trees. Here she was, this very thin, refined elderly 'lady' (truly), extremely genteel, etc, and she goes and whispers in my ear "When i am out on my daily walks, I often stop, go over and hug one of those huge old trees. i feel their strength, their story, and it keeps me going. some are even older that I!" She then added."Yes, if the villagers ever saw me, they'd think I've gone quite dotty!"

:)

Queenmothermamaw said...

I have been told that when trees struggle for water and there is none deep into the water table they will surface trying to find the water. To sustain life they must find what nurtures them. Just as we are drawn to the source of life that we need. All life is pulled towards what sustains it. Nice post for today.
QMM

Wings said...

Very cool idea, to think they are breaking the surface that way!

Betsy said...

Beautiful and fascinating post, Rebecca!

JeffScape said...

Tell me you've seen Pan's Labyrinth. That tree creeped me out... excellent imagery.

LadyCat said...

Very beautiful thoughts. Trees are so magnificient & have so much character. Happy TT

Skip Simpson said...

I once owned a Bonsai that was gorgeous in the way it was shaped, with the exposed roots and gnarled branches. Thank you for bringing that back in my memory.

Tom said...

yeah, why is the most interesting part of the tree below the surface? Great post! I have a Twisted gnarly Hazlenut that looks like an upsidedown tree...it's pretty cool.

Rinkly Rimes said...

A very imaginatve offering. Her, in my city, the roots of the Moreton Bay Fig Trees break up the pavement in their determination to reach the surface.

Jen Chandler said...

This is beautiful! I love trees and I've always been fascinated by the large, gnarled ones. I delight in running my fingers over the bare roots, the ones covered in moss and mushrooms.

Thanks for the virtual stroll through the forest!

Happy Friday,
Jen

Bachelor said...

Rebecca,
Thank you for once again reminding me of one of God's beautiful creations. Roots do take on such a growth that shows forth later on in life; somewhat as how our ancestry takes over in our later years and shows forth our "root" connections....who we are and where we come from... thanks again for sharing! The Bach

ChaChaneen said...

We used to have a huge tree in our back yard that we had to cut down because it was originally planted too close to the house and when we bought it the root system was starting to affect the foundation of the house so it had to come down. $1k to do that. Oh the joys of owning property. I like your version of trees much better! ha ha

Blog Princess G said...

This is one of my favourite posts ever on any blog. Thank you for sharing it with us. :)

Dreamhaven said...

I love the fact that trees have so many different images, from roots to the topmost branches. They can both inspire and frighten.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Rebecca...very beautiful.....i love the trees too...perfect

this music is so lovely..

what is it?

i'll look on your blog to find it..you blog is wonderful...i am always at peace here, dear one

thanks for stopping by Farmhouse today....wish you were here for the mushroom pasta..we have plenty..

fondly,
kary
xx