Sunday, 17 July 2011

Fruits of Experience

Trees aren't really in need of adornment beyond foliage, flower and fruit. Any 'extras' merely interfere with the messages transmitted in shape, position and movement. Some of the most persistent negatives of our throwaway society, are those discarded items that end up all twig-tangled and torn among the branches. Carrier bags, for instance. High on the wind, their rising, tumbling bid for freedom ends, as it does for many of us, with a snag. Defiantly wrestling the elements, they're held firm until they represent little more than faded shreds, ribbons of residue, symbols of cock-eyed consumerism.


So, when I first saw this beautiful tree in the grounds of Mottisfont Abbey, trailing coloured strips from its trunk and limbs, I wasn't sure how I felt. It's a memory tree, each tied length of tape representing a thought, a snapshot of a time in a life.


As I assisted our granddaughters in attaching their chosen ribbons to low hanging boughs, a swell of emotion indicated to me that this was something special, this dreamy display, this roll call of reminiscence. As the breeze picked up, I found myself asking, where better to secure those fluttering frailties we call memories, than from the arms of a tall tree?

12 comments:

  1. What a nice idea! Far better than a carrier bag. Or a yellow ribbon, for that matter.......

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  2. a prayer tree is also a lovely idea

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  3. I thought you were having a pop at my Poet Tree there for a minute!
    I love this tree, personally. Did you know Tree 'dressing' is reputedly part of many cultures?... interesting stuff!

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  4. I’m sure the Dryads were pleased with the offerings; so much nicer than paper bags and other rubbish.How lovely for the grandchildren to secure their thoughts or memories to that moment; I expect they’ll remember the day more clearly because of the ribbon hanging.

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  5. We have the more traditional version round here - the Sainsburys bags trapped in the branches. Our kids used to call them witches' knickers. I don't know if other people call them this or whether it was just us.

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  6. That reminds me of the prayer tree that St. Machar's Cathedral in Aberdeen invites the public to make on their yearly Open Day. I think it's very beautiful, and I'm sure the tree enjoys bearing people's thoughts, wishes and prayers. (As long as someone unties all those ribbons afterwards, of course!)

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  7. I'd love to tie a ribbon on a memory tree. Does it have to be a special tree or will any old tree in the garden do?

    Mottisfont Abbey, now there's a trip to consider . . .

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  8. I do understand the ambivalence about this, though you are right, it's a lovely ritual and seems in accord with nature's way, too.

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  9. I sympathize with your ambivalence too. That first paragraph is a beautiful read.

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  10. I too am appalled at the sight of plastic bags in trees. But one memory tree in an otherwise unadorned space seems a nice thing.

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  11. Your prose is so poetic and lovely 'High on the wind, their rising, tumbling bid for freedom ends, as it does for many of us, with a snag.'

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  12. Lovely pictures, and lovely post. ". . .this dreamy display, this roll call of reminiscence"--worthy of a poem, that bit!

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