Think Like a Tree:
Ten countries. England. Ireland, Wales, Sweden, Spain, Slovenia, Guatemala, China, USA and Canada.
Four hundred trees. Oak, Maple, Plane, Cypress, Cedar, Pine, Yew, Willow, Birch, Black Walnut, Douglas fir, Redwood, Beech, Sweet Chestnut, Horse Chestnut, Elm, Linden, Ash, Caucasian Wingnut, Acacia, Fig, Eucalyptus, Apple, Cherry, Hawthorn, Hocote, Mango, Avocado,Olive, Laurel, Eclipta, Pomegranate, Cottonwood, Carob, Hornbeam, Hemlock, Persion Ironwood, Pagoda, Gingko and Arbutus.
Now I pause to reflect on these encounters.
In part this is an artistic practice. Inward listening. Distinguishing in my inner world, what is my impulse and what is the request of the tree. Trusting the process. Allowing the image time to become understandable.
In part this is a research. I am the constant. My mind, heart and body is particular, individual. My perceptions and capacities are limited.
In part this is prayer. Exploring connectedness , attention and interest as a kind of speaking. Entering into conversations with a non sense perceptible creative life force.
I recorded the date of the encounter and the place. In some cases I returned to work with the same tree. In certain cases over three years and as many as seven times. Many of these trees grow in proximity to people. In cities, small towns, on farms, in botanical gardens or in national parks.
This work is a tiny step that could expand to take decades . It is my hope that it will be a spark of inspiration for others who would find their own point of entry into relationships with trees all over the world.
Of this I am certain; trees are sentient. Trees are developing new capacities as individuals and also as forests. Just as in human society there is a wide range of interests and exploration of evolving consciousness, trees vary widely in terms of their development.
I invite you to step with me across the threshold where our gratitude towards trees stops at their production of oxygen and lumber or as a mechanism for our health and mental well being. Come with me to where the tree is a full co-creative partner with imagination, humour, wisdom, information and inspiration. If we can go there I am confident this will have enormous consequences for the future.
My method is simple. I carry a small folding camping seat. A set of inktense ( Derwent) pencils, water brushes and a pad of paper. The paper size has varied over the 5 years. Now I work with 11’x15′. On average I spend one hour for each drawing. For some I have had as little as 15 minutes while with others I have occasionally gone on for several hours. In almost all cases I sit with my back against the trunk. There are a few cases where I had to work a few feet away from the trunk.
Introduction to this website:
Trees are members of the plant kingdom and as human beings in a rational world we do not expect trees to be conscious, let alone to be able to convey thoughts and meaning to human beings. I have now about 400 drawings recording my research of communication with trees. This non-verbal encounter reveals a presence and communicative consciousness that I am calling a tree conversation.
I began this research six years ago . I developed a process that includes making a coloured ink drawing created during the tree conversation.
This website contains:
Many of the 400 plus drawings (I am adding drawings regularly).
Some short articles describing specific experiences with specific trees (I will build this up over time).
A world map showing the locations of the trees involved in these encounters.
A bibliography of books that I find valuable.
Several entries describing the philosophy behind this work.
A list of the work/ workshops I am offering.
An audio interview from the Guardian Nature Spirits Telesummit broadcast April 2, 2015.
I was part of a webinar program with 23 other people around the world who are working with varied forms of consciousness within the natural world. If you are interested in this conference you can purchase downloads for all of the interviews at guardianspiritsofnature.com