Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EST February 10th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

Our text was an excerpt from The Overstory by Richard Powers, posted below.

Our prompt was: Describe a time you traveled everywhere, just by holding still.

More details on this session will be posted, so check back!

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

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Please join us for our next session Monday February 15th at 6pm EST, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


From The Overstory by Richard Powers

First there was nothing. Then there was everything.

Then, in a park above a western city after dusk, the air is raining messages.

A woman sits on the ground, leaning against a pine. Its bark pressed hard against her back, as hard as life. Its needles scent the air and a force hums in the heart of the wood. Her ears tune down to the lowest frequencies. The tree is saying things, in words before words.

It says: Sun and water are questions endlessly worth answering.

It says: A good answer must be reinvented many times, from scratch.

It says: Every piece of earth needs a new way to grip it. There are more ways to branch than any cedar pencil will ever find. A thing can travel everywhere, just by holding still.

The woman does exactly that. Signals rain down around her like seeds.

Talk runs far afield tonight. The bends in the alders speak of long-ago disasters. Spikes of pale chinquapin flowers shake down their pollen; soon they will turn into spiny fruits. Poplars repeat the wind’s gossip. Persimmons and walnuts set out their bribes and rowans their blood-red clusters. Ancient oaks wave prophecies of future weather. The several hundred kinds of hawthorn laugh at the single name they’re forced to share. Laurels insist that even death is nothing to lose sleep over.

Something in the air’s scent commands the woman: Close your eyes and think of willow. The weeping you see will be wrong. Picture an acacia thorn. Nothing in your thought will be sharp enough. What hovers right above you? What floats over your head right now – now?

Trees even farther away join in: All the ways you imagine us – bewitched mangroves up on stilts, a nutmeg’s inverted space, gnarled baja elephant trunks, the straight-up missile of a sal – are always amputations. Your kind never sees us whole. You miss the half of it, and more. There’s always as much belowground as above.

That’s the trouble with people, their root problem. Life runs alongside them, unseen. Right here, right next. Creating the soil. Cycling water. Trading in nutrients. Making weather. Building atmosphere. Feeding and curing and sheltering more kinds of creatures than people know how to count.

A chorus of living wood sings to the woman: If your mind were only a slightly greener thing, we’d drown you in meaning.

The pine she leans against says: Listen. There’s something you need to hear.

5 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EST February 10th 2021

  1. Janine M Mariscotti

    Muxia 2017

    After walking 150 kilometers
    I landed at the end of the earth
    Where I sat on a hilltop
    Breathing in every infinitesimal speck
    of this entire world

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A time I traveled everywhere just by holding still~~~

    I closed my eyes and just for a few moments went back in time.
    To my childhood,
    a time of carefree freedom,
    of loud giggles,
    of skinned knees.
    A time of playing explorer with my younger sister
    and finding new hideouts in the woods behind our house.

    A time of first experiencing death,
    the passing of my grandfather.
    Experiencing that hollow feeling deep within my heart.

    I stand here in quiet with so many memories,
    so many truths.
    To return back,
    maybe I will.
    To again be there in those quiet and joyous times.

    Life lived at full throttle!
    So alive!

    Like

    • al3793

      Michele, finding hideouts in the woods, among the trees takes me back to the text we read. The quiet and joyous times, quiet time of experiencing a first grief and joyous times at full throttle with your sister skinning knees in the woods.

      Like

  3. al3793

    As we have aged we no longer expect lofty destinations when we venture onto the Rockie’s rugged paths. Instead we just head out and hike until we decide it’s time to turn around. And what happens is that we take time to stop and explore what we see, what we would have often walked past in our younger years unseen.

    One day we saw Nature’s Window Box – a pine cone ladened trough – a fallen dead of a great lodgepole pine – from which a coniferous sprig of a sapling, seeded by those cones emerged. In that moment of standing still, a moment we might have often walked right past, the majesty of nature presented herself as a mound of leaves turned to rich soil by season upon season of snow, sun, wind, rain and more snow and wind and rain. In that moment we witnessed the imperceptible decades of upward movement of the sapling as it branched its way up to take its place in the mountain-forest’s canopy of green and gold.

    Like

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