Carnivalistic

bur oak face

Get into the carnival spirit at the Festival of the Trees 2.

Then enjoy the rides at Circus of the Spineless XI.

Yesterday evening, I visited an enormous bur oak tree in a friend’s back yard. Other photos are here and here.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

11 Comments


  1. There is a god in that tree – perhaps an Antler God, or Cernunnos. A Green Man. It’s evocative and powerful. The strength of trees, really Druidic man. I like the mythic sense you’ve captured in the strong twiny twist of ancient bark.

    On a completely different topic, how do you pronounce qarrtsiluni?

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  2. There is a god in that tree – perhaps an Antler God, or Cernunnos. A Green Man.

    Yeah, and it’s not like it takes any special skill to see it; the face is right there, about fifteen feet off the ground, as plain as day.

    how do you pronounce qarrtsiluni?

    I’ve always said “cart s’loony.”

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  3. Share this image of Jean’s, which I’ve loved since he posted it. It’s enough to make me hunt through 60 packed boxes of books for Graves’ The White Goddess!

    The question is, do you have conversations with the face that is ‘fifteen feet off the ground, as plain as day’?

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  4. I don’t know. I kind of doubt that anything I have to say would be of much interest to a tree.

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  5. I must be more of a nutcase than I thought, then.

    But, then again, spiritus loci, the deva, or local genius of the tree. And divining.

    But, then again, you’re
    probably
    right.

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  6. I’m not sure I understand your point. All I’m saying is that I don’t like to push myself on other people or beings, spirits of place included.

    Which is not to say I wouldn’t talk to a tree under special circumstances — for example, if it talked to me first. The trick is to get someone to make proper introductions. Trees are big on decorum, I think.

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  7. Ah, maybe that’s it. If the tree talks first. Yes, I suppose that’s how it happened…

    (Warning: long recollection now). The lake at my cottage on the island ‘spoke’ to me on about day 2 of a three day fast, or, ahem, ‘vision quest,’ which I used to do by the beach amidst the trees by myself once or twice a year. After that, we talked endlessly :grins: My Dad, a man of reason, a scientist, rational & all that, was originally a geologist and once, when I mentioned, oh, how do I put this, talking with various nature sprites, he said that that was very odd but that if he really thought about it mountains spoke to him. He was a hard rock geologist. Being out in the bush for months on end collecting samples was one of the joys of his life and he missed it later in life when he became office bound.

    The Secret Life of Nature I really loved: it’s perhaps simply another way of appreciating what’s around us, another perception perhaps as valid as, for instance, dendrology.

    I hope that explains my initial comment…

    And not to overdo it. If you’re tired of this comment thread, snip it (oh, fun puns).

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  8. That’s interesting, especially about your father. I’ve always liked geologists – even tried to be one, briefly, in college, before the math and chemistry courses defeated me.

    My own view resembles pre-modern animism, but i’ve always been far more intrigued by the mysteries revealed by modern science than by European (or other) fairy lore, just as I have little interest in beliefs about the soul, life after death, metempsychosis, etc. I guess you could call me an anti-spiritualist (you know, via negativa and all that). But I do enjoy learning about other worldviews and religions.

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  9. Premodern animism sounds interesting. Would you like to elaborate further, or perhaps your postings in poetry and prose ‘show’ that worldview…

    My father, a POW for 4 years in North Africa, Italy and Poland, emerged from the war completely agnostic. He maintained a refusal to say anything because he said we simply do not know. He wasn’t any kind of spiritualist though his mother was very psychic and so he did respect intuition. When he was dying, though, he was talking to and praying most of the time, and was ‘seeing’ his parents; it could have been the morphine, or that the consciousness returns to a more primal belief in the magical thinking of childhood, I don’t know. But the highly refined intellectual apperception of religion and life and death and war seemed to give way to an emotional substrata in the last months of his life (he passed away in 1984).

    Following in his footsteps in a kind of reverse way, I am willing to suspend not belief but disbelief. While I fully agree that we simply do not know, I tend towards believing in everything, in a multiplicity. And ultimately in ‘nothing,’ ‘the void,’ the ‘great emptiness.’

    But we have talked of this before in your comment threads.

    May I pull this back to the ‘antler god’ image in the bur oak – one of the first cave art depictions of ‘light’ was a line drawing of a shaman, a human figure, a man if I recall, with antlers… I can’t find it right now on the NET, but if I recall the antlers were a precursor of the fronds of the sun, and solar worship, and the God of Light…

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  10. Oh, cripes. I’m working reception at an office today, constant phone calls, couriers, tasks, sorry if that comment was a bit disjointed!

    When I say antlers=rays of sun=god of sun=god of light, it’s because I was working on a fairly large piece of work back in the early 80s on light (was never finished), and this particular sequence seemed the most logical (building on Gimbutas’ methodology on the Art of Old Europe). It could be entirely off the mark, of course.

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  11. Well, you’ve obviously read a lot more about the horned god than I have. Cool stuff. Thanks for the comments!

    Reply

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