The Mother Tree At Ground Level.


I finally found a photo of the Mother Tree at ground level. For those that don’t know, this is a tree in the redwood forest I lived in when I was really little. I figure something like this is in order after the awfulness in the last post.


[Photo: A little out of focus, with a light leak in the upper left corner. A large redwood tree, including the ground area. Some piece of an iteration is visible hanging down on the left.]

I hadn’t uploaded this one because I thought the light leak made it look bad. This was before those were trendy. But now I like this one a good deal. It shows the bark texture better than any of them.

My brother drove me up there and I curled up right in the roots where the tree met the ground and just sat there listening. It felt almost like the tree was singing. Not out loud, just an intense, deep treeish clarity that struck me as song-like. And I stayed there and listened a long time. Momo-style.

Momo listened to everyone and everything, to dogs and cats, crickets and tortoises — even to the rain and the wind in the pine trees — and all of them spoke to her after their own fashion.

Many were the evenings when, after her friends had gone home, she would sit by herself in the middle of the old stone amphitheater, with the sky’s starry vault overhead, and simply listen to the great silence around her.

Whenever she did this, she felt she was sitting at the center of a giant ear, listening to the world of the stars, and she seemed to hear soft but majestic music that touched her heart in the strangest way. On nights like these, she always had the most beautiful dreams.

Those who still think listening isn’t an art should see if they can do half as well.

~~Michael Ende, Momo

You can see more about this tree, and about what iteration means, in Redwoods on Top of Redwoods. And a picture of my brother holding me there at One More Picture from the Redwoods.

About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods, which tell me who I am and where I belong in the world. I relate to objects as if they are alive, but as things with identities and properties all of their own, not as something human-like. Culturally I'm from a California Okie background. Crochet or otherwise create constantly, write poetry and paint when I can. Proud member of the developmental disability self-advocacy movement. I care a lot more about being a human being than I care about what categories I fit into.

5 responses »

  1. Beautiful words and it is wonderful to see this incredible tree again so thanks for putting up this picture. The bark is so textured and seemingly interwoven. . It has such an old soul and presence it takes my breath away.

  2. Yeah, the bark is *incredible* on that tree. I mean the whole treeishness is, but you can see and (I imagine) just feel the age and all the time it’s been witness to in all those textures and layers.

  3. Gorgeous. How big is it? If you leaned against it, would it feel almost flat because it’s so big? I’ve never seen a real redwood in my life. I wish I could. I had a maple tree that I loved when I was a girl. I used to put up a tent under it and sleep in the tent, and half my library of books usually ended up there.

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