“You speak to me whispering/tree-secrets in the language/of lush and leafy greens” – Kate Marshall Flaherty*
Looking for an escape during these recent pandemic lockdowns? Over the years, I’ve read numerous books about trees. So far, these are my seven favourites reviewed on Goodreads. Each of the authors has inspired me!
Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr. Qing Li (Penquin Life 2018) 320 pages
I first noticed the Japanese term Shinrin-Yoku on a Facebook post. After losing four large ash trees in my backyard due to the invasive emerald ash borer, I couldn’t believe how the loss permeated my existence. I felt compelled to learn more about the ash trees and in doing so the surviving trees taught me so much about the world around me.
What can trees teach us about the world? Pick up a book and discover what some researchers and poets have discovered? Here are two books to get you started.
It didn’t surprise me that for Mother’s Day my family gifted me this book on forest bathing by Dr. Qing Li, chairman of the Japanese Society for Forest Medicine. However, what surprised me was that about a third of the way into the book, the author even discussed a study about the relationship between trees and human health as the result of the emerald ash borer’s destructive path through America. In bold letters, he wrote on page 113 “When trees die, people die.”
i’m in the bus which is really just an old car/and it’s night and pouring rain and i’m/thirteen and the car is jammed with bodies… – Eleonore Shönmaier*
Have you filled your pockets with poems yet? Have you dropped a poetic postcard in the mail? There’s still time to swirl in this whirlwind of poetic celebration. Below is a cluster of literary news items collected and raked up like paper leaves off my desk. Quick, line your calendar pockets with the words of poetry.
Tomorrow (Thursday, April 18 to be exact), The League of Canadian Poetswill roll out nature’s leafy-green carpet to present Poem in Your Pocket Day, another initiative for its National Poetry Month 2019 (#NPM19) celebration. According to the League’s website, “you can carry a poem, share a poem, or even start your own Poem in Your Pocket Day event.”
Have you checked your mailbox lately? Look at what the League snail-mailed to me the other day! I’ve decided to share it a few hours early.
“Poems fall like leaves until/wheelbarrows sag from collected rain.” -Debbie Okun Hill*
Yesterday’s e-mail from the League of Canadian Poets arrived unexpectedly like the popped cork from a champagne bottle.
“We are so excited that Heartwood is finally out in the world!” wrote Madison Stoner, Communications Coordinator for the League.
Heartwood is published by The League of Canadian Poets, 2018. It includes 154 poems by League poets representing every province and territory in Canada.
I could feel the effervescence tingling in her words and the anticipated release of congratulatory balloons on a Facebook page. Bravo to editor Lesley Strutt and all the Canadian contributors and compilers and designers and more who worked behind the scenes on this important project. The League’s fundraising anthology Heartwood: Poems for the Love of Treesreinforced my own interest in nature and the importance of trees for our well-being. How wonderful to know that others felt the same way. I was pleased to tag along!
According to the Amazon posting, this collection published by the League “features poets from every province and territorycelebrating the immeasurable value trees have for the environment and the soul.”
“Trees matter,” wrote Strutt on the back cover of the 288-page anthology, “and we have written about them with the windows of our hearts open, breathing in the good air that the forests provide.”