Nature Is Watching: Chapter II
“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.” ― Hermann Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte
I hope that through this project, the work can encourage any passerby to slow down and reflect, and perhaps wonder, what if the trees were watching us? And if they were, how would we react, what would we think? Would we treat nature differently if it had eyes? And who's to say it doesn't? Perhaps trees are observing us silently, through their roots, their leaves, their bark. You don't need eyes to see, but an eye on a living organism suddenly gives it more presence that before. Additionally, if we place something human on something that isn't, does that humanize it? Does that make it human?
My goal is not to guilt or manipulate anyone into behaving more environmentally conscious (I hope people do that already without encouragement), however, I'd certainly be happy if it were to give one pause and consider their own green footprint on the Earth.
Ultimately though, my aim is to add a touch of whimsy to the neighbourhood, to take back the public space, which belongs to everyone, and create an art installation that (I hope) everyone can enjoy.
Thank you for reading! And a BIG thank you to my partner for his insight, badass photography skills and riding around the neighbourhood with me, scouting places (trees) and just being amazing all round :)
Until next time, happy crocheting :)