Monday, April 27, 2009

Thoughts on The Tree of Life

Tree of Life - Image c Lynda Lehmann


Witness the great tree: the overarching Tree of Life.

It spreads and reaches....
soaking in light from above
to nurture the growth
of all its branches.

We are like the twigs,
works-in-progress growing,
turning, striving, streaming
and
bifurcating from branches
larger than we.

We are each rooted in
humanity, as each branch
springs from the tree.

But on a tree,
divergent branches although separate,
do not turn on themselves,
nor on others.
Nor do they ridicule those
weaker tentacles whose growth
does not rival their own.

Because they remember
being tender shoots
themselves,
barely differentiated from the flesh
of the great trunk,

they know their origin,
respect it,
and are humbled.

Mindful, they know their attachment
to something greater:
a force that nurtures them while still
enlisting them to provide.

There are no outcasts among branches.

Nor scorn for angling off
in a different direction.
For each twig and branch
sees its own way
towards the light.

****

The branch reaches far
yet gives thanks for its base,
its connection to
the larger tree.

No branch stands
on a pinnacle
to proclaim its sovereignty.
Lording not, over others.

Nor does it claim
more than its share
of root's nourishment
or succor of light.

A single branch
is gangly, awkward, lost...
unrelated...
yet a tree brims

with the hope
of all levels of life
reaching
for more of itself.

A branch splintered
from The Whole,
loses stability, sustenance, meaning.

Embedded in its cells,
the code,
calling for contribution
but not conformity...

to evolve in concert with The Whole.

We have much to learn
from mingled branches
that together stand proud, as
the Tree of Life.

A World of Their Own - Image c Lynda Lehmann

MY BLOGGING FRIENDS: Just a note to tell you that this will most likely be my last post for a week or two, because of other projects I have to attend to. Everything is fine; I'm just busy.

I WILL however, visit your sites and comment, and respond to your comments here. Any constructive criticism on the poem is most welcome! And I'll be back to post as soon as I can. Love and peace to you....

Journey - Image c Lynda Lehmann

All images and text c Lynda Lehmann. If you would like to view more of my art or make a purchase, please visit Lynda Lehmann Painting and Photography or my gallery at Imagekind, where you can choose from several sizes and paper types or buy my prints plain or matted and framed.

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42 comments:

  1. No criticism from me Lynda - the poem is fantastic! So are the photos.
    As a tree lover this really touches a chord with me.

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  2. Linda,
    Love trees, love poetry so this was a beautiful start to a cold, dreary day. Onward to breakfast. Thank you

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  3. Lynda...sounds like you are going to be busy!

    Beautiful pictures of trees ans as you probably know...one of my favorite subjects!

    The poem is beautiful especially:
    A single branch
    is gangly, awkward, lost...
    unrelated...
    yet a tree brims

    with the hope
    of all levels of life
    reaching
    for more of itself.

    A great insight to the importance of community.

    Dan

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  4. Awesome!!!! both prose and images.

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  5. Janice - While I'm glad you have no criticisms, I would welcome it from you, as you have such a talent for poetry. Believe me, I know how much you love all of nature, through your wonderful work!

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  6. MARGARET - Is it still cold by you? Where having a mini heat wave here!

    I'm glad my poem warmed your chill morning. Thanks for visiting and your lovely compliment! xxx

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  7. DAN - I'm glad my point comes across. One never knows...

    Thank you so much for coming over, and for taking the time to read it!

    I'll be over soon to catch up with you. :)

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  8. BOB - Thank you! Sorry I'm late in coming around, but I'll be over to your blog shortly. After lunch, lol..

    I guess you saw that I discovered the secret of animated GIFs. Thanks to you I was inspired to look into it. (not to make a pun...)

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  9. Beautiful Lynda, I can't go to the park without taking photos of trees- love them

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  10. SHOOZLES - Me too! My friends get annoyed because I am always looking UP!

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  11. Beautiful photo of a beautiful tree. I love trees. They are so metaphorical and I love that every single tree is different with branches reaching everywhere. Good luck with your projects!

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  12. TANGLED STITCH - Thank you! I'll be back as soon as I can! :)

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  13. a wonderful metaphor for our way of life!!!
    I really love the poem and your images are awe inspiring Lynda...
    please enjoy your busy time (and your warm weather) and I'll be looking forward to your return :))

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  14. I do wish I could help you with some criticism, but I can't. The words make me look within myself and wonder what I can do when looking outside myself. I can find no fault in your words.

    Like many of your fans, I am a tree lover myself.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. No, I did not attend PSU. Instead I went to Virginia Tech and received a degree in Urban Studies. I have taken a convoluted path!

    I will return here often for your beautiful photos and words.

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  15. KIM - I will! Thank you, my dear. Hugs to ya. Keep on with all that great painting (stage sets AND portraits) that you're doing!

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  16. KIM - Had you gone to PSU, I assume I wouldn't have known you, as you are probably GENERATIONS younger than I!

    "Convoluted" is good--it means you weren't afraid to explore and find your own path.

    State College used to be cozy and rather idyllic. I wonder how much it's changed in all these years, or if PSU has expanded further. There were 35,000 kids on the main campus back THEN!

    Thanks for your feedback and visit. Maybe we should form a "Society of Tree Lovers"?

    See you again soon, Kim.

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  17. Loved the photograph and enjoyed the analogy of a tree and our community. Thoughtful and thought-provoking.
    I kept thinking about crossing branches that are too crowded and how they sometimes stunt others; I don't know how it relates to your poem...just proves that you provoked contemplation!

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  18. KATHY - I guess I was bending the poem (poetic license) to the truth I was trying to illustrate. I never think of branches stunting other branches, but I guess, perhaps, they do! NO justice in the world...

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  19. Hey Lynda,

    Aaah, the Tree of Life...such a mystical theme :D!

    This is one powerful poem: first it reminds us that we were small once, and that we are here to develop ourselves (to evolve); then it reminds us that we have a root (God, but also family [which is an extension of our relationship with God]) from which we are never detached (no matter how hard we wish to be). It also calls upon us to respect others, for we are not that different from each other (for after all we are here to do exactly the same, despite the tiny details of existence [to which we cling on to as an excuse to bash on, disrespect and mock others]: burn karma, fulfil a mission).

    "The branch reaches far /yet gives thanks for its base,/its connection to/the larger tree." - is the larger tree, God and the Astral?

    "to evolve in concert with The Whole." - Amen.

    Tai Chi masters say that we should learn from trees: in windy days, each branch moves in different ways yet, as a whole, the tree moves in harmony. This is what we need to do...to be in harmony despite our individuality.

    Fantastic photos, powerful post :D!

    Cheers

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  20. MAX - You continue to be so extremely observant and articulate, and a great communicator. I see that you have really read my poem and thought somewhat about it, and I thank you!

    To me, "the larger tree" refers to God, to all of Creation, The One, the Universe, All, however you want to say it. It's the same thing: the generative power/miracle at the core of Life, that allows us to BE, as individuals and in diversity and relationship, connected to the larger scheme.

    I have never studied Tai Chi or their sages, but I see in all of nature (all humans, too) the principle of differentiation and differing, yet needing to, at the same time, stay aligned and empathic with The Whole.

    A brook flows downstream from the mountain above, as a singular, dynamic entity. But all its rhythms and patterns change as it turns, trickles, charges, and eddies over the changing terrain. As it is with the blowing leaves and the boughs on the trees.

    "This is what we need to do...to be in harmony despite our individuality." Exactly. We lose our personal power if we try to live it in a vacumn, isolated or unmindful of The Whole.

    Thank you for coming over and bringing your light, my dear Max!

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  21. A beautiful poems. Trees have spirit. I love this.

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  22. Hi SANDY! Thanks for coming over. I guess we have a consensus: we all love trees!

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  23. love the shots and the poem, whatever projects you have at hand, take care.

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  24. Lynda:

    Beautiful pictures as always. And I liked the poem. My favorite verse was this one:

    "Embedded in its cells,
    the code,
    calling for contribution
    but not conformity..." So true, and it applies to all of us.

    Happy trails.

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  25. KRIZ - Good to see you. I'll be over to visit, and I will be posting again, soon. Hope all is well.


    SWUBIRD - I'm glad you found some meaning in my poem. I wasn't going to post it, because I thought it needed work. But I went ahead with it because Moments so easily escape us. I thought I'd be sure to misplace it, or just never get around to that editing, so I kissed it up.

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  26. Hello Lynda,

    English poetry is always a little difficult for me so i won't comment the poem but i really like the monochrome forest image.

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  27. PATRICK - Not to worry. If I had to read and respond to a poem in French, I don't think I would do very well, either!

    I like that B & W photo, too. The trees in that upstate New York forest were towering.

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  28. The Unbreakable Child - Thank you, and thanks for stopping by! :)

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  29. Lynda, first of all I love the first tree photo and it works with the poem. I also enjoy how you set up the poem so that it reminds me of a tree, somehow. Good work!

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  30. If we accept the truth of the tree of life, the human life is left behind in grade. Can we still say 'humans are the most developed form of life on this earth'. I feel ashamed to be called a human, but I am.

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  31. The tree of life has become a theme today. Everyplace I go there is a reference to it. That must mean something! The photos are beautiful. I especially love the first one. The poem is wonderful too. I hope we do learn from trees...

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  32. CONDA - Thank you! I'm glad you think it works. I was going to wait to post the poem, but then I thought that if I waited to get it "right," I'd lose it or forget about it! Better to do it while focused on it...

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  33. RAM - Yes, I agree. We tend to see ourselves, the human race, as the high point of nature and evolution. We MAYBE have more self-awareness than other life forms, but I'm not so sure that our behavior rises to the level of evolved self-knowledge!

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  34. SYBIL - I guess it's a theme because of Earth Day, and because we're all so happy to be rid of the endless, dreary winter.

    Or, if we're lucky, it's also because our awareness of our planet's beauty, fragility, and limited resources, is also growing....

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  35. Lynda,

    "You continue to be so extremely observant and articulate, and a great communicator. I see that you have really read my poem and thought somewhat about it, and I thank you!"

    Thank you for your kindness *bowing*! You are welcome, darling :D!

    "To me, "the larger tree" refers to God, to all of Creation, The One, the Universe, All, however you want to say it."

    I call Him God :).

    "It's the same thing: the generative power/miracle at the core of Life, that allows us to BE, as individuals and in diversity and relationship, connected to the larger scheme."

    Amen to that!

    "I have never studied Tai Chi or their sages, but I see in all of nature (all humans, too) the principle of differentiation and differing, yet needing to, at the same time, stay aligned and empathic with The Whole."

    You have an inner wisdom that is admirable (to know this intuitively is a proof that you soul chose to not forget the inate Truth).

    "A brook flows downstream from the mountain above, as a singular, dynamic entity. But all its rhythms and patterns change as it turns, trickles, charges, and eddies over the changing terrain. As it is with the blowing leaves and the boughs on the trees."

    Do you know who you reminded me of just now? Alberto Caeiro (who obtained his Wisdom by observing nature and the course of life) - he was called the Master.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Pessoa#Alberto_Caeiro

    "Thank you for coming over and bringing your light, my dear Max!"

    It is my pleasure, Lynda :D!

    Cheers

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  36. I think it's my first time commenting your blog and I was totally blown away by that poem and the photos.. Amazing work!

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  37. MAX - thank you for feeding my curiosity, dear. i will look him up as soon as i have a moment. for now, i think i will cull from the encouragement you have given me, for my next post--to be an offshoot of this post, because of your feedback on it.

    will be in touch, my wise friend.

    xxxx

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  38. ILAN - I'm glad we have discovered each other's blogs!

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  39. This is lovely, and this is the perfect prelude to your next post! I liked this part a lot..

    But on a tree,B
    divergent branches although separate,
    do not turn on themselves,
    nor on others.
    Nor do they ridicule those
    weaker tentacles whose growth
    does not rival their own.

    Because they remember
    being tender shoots
    themselves,
    barely differentiated from the flesh
    of the great trunk,

    they know their origin,
    respect it,
    and are humbled.

    ReplyDelete
  40. SSQUO - Thank you! I am so happy that you found some meaning in it! Thanks for sharing... :)

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  41. Oh Lynda this is so inspirational, so much truth in your poem, but the tree photos are just unbelievable. Anna :)

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