London Plane Tree at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden ( August 2018)
The Five Point Plane tree at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden
How can we understand what has happened?
My involvement is mysterious and only one part of the story. For what it is worth here it is.
In my first years of research with trees in conversation, I was working at a school in Brooklyn in May/June 2013 for 5 weeks and took the opportunity to go to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden as often as possible. There I met and worked with the Hybrid Oak, the Wingnut Tree(s), a Japanese Cherry and some of the Bonsaii trees.
Some years later I received an invitation from Pamela Turczyn to come and work with a London Plane tree at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. This tree had asked for me and felt it was urgent. Pamela sent me a package in the mail with some heartwood and some bark from this tree. I went to sleep , holding the tree offerings next to my heart. My dreams that night were potent and directly related to the work of the Tree Conversations. I agreed to go and Pamela kindly arranged for a workshop in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden so I could share my approach to this work.
My first visit in July 2016 with this London Plane tree was powerful and mysterious. I sat with it twice and it offered two images to me. The first felt like something related to the ancient mystery centres of Delphi or Ephesus. The second was like a gathering in of energy for a very new step/transition. The thought came to me that this tree was preparing for a human life. I was made aware of the Celebrity path that was given a lot of attention by the humans visiting the garden. Each celebrity name was inscribed on a brass plaque shaped like a leaf.
And who will remember the London Plane tree?
I was invited to return to New York by another group to teach the Tree Conversation work in May 2018 and Pamela and I agreed to co-teach a workshop together in Prospect Park. Of course I was in great and joyful anticipation to return to the London Plane to connect and have more conversation, seeking understanding of what it was that I was to do in support of this mysterious bond.
To my shock and dismay just days before I was in New York I saw photos of this great tree having had all it’s limbs cut off leaving a substantial part of the trunk and nothing else. What a horror. What a disappointment. What a loss.
Of course when I was in New York I made sure to go to this tree. I was with Pamela, Veronica and Caien, all of whom were involved with the Tree Conversation work with us. I led us in a Gaia Touch inspired ceremony to shepherd/midwife the tree through this shock. I decided I had to speak with an arborist from the garden. I waited for an arborist to come into the foyer of the administrative building. I introduced myself, showing him some drawings I had done with trees in the garden and explaining that the London Plane was begging for the rest of the tree body to be removed. He told me why this had happened so haphazardly and in such a rush. There was fear that during the cherry blossom time a branch would fall and hurt a visitor . However they didn’t have the correct equipment to remove the entire tree all at once. He assured me that this would happen very soon. He told me this on May 17, 2018. It was months before the tree was fully removed, and as is shown in the photos it had pushed out new growth. Very troubling. Pamela feels that our ceremony released the spirit of the tree into freedom. I think it is important to recognize that such a careless process creates distress and confusion for the tree and for the arborist who was fired and for the devoted members of this special garden.
For me this event with this particular tree is also linked to what I experienced as a great violation of the sacred beings ( trees) in this garden with the strangely conceived construction of the “water” area that is intended to be “environmentally” innovative.
It is clear to me that until we are able to recognize the living conscious being of the trees, the water, the landscape we will only continue to do great harm, even in the name of good.
The images below are the two Tree Conversation drawings I did with this tree in July 2016. The one showing the simple spiral with a floral like pattern behind it was the second drawing and I felt it was showing that the tree was at peace and ready to transform from this form of being to it’s next incarnation. ( There are legends that Buddha had over 40 incarnations as a tree before incarnating as Buddha). The drawing showing a kind of goblet above with the “c” shape in the middle was the first one I was given and as it was emerging I received the thought that the tree was preparing for a human life.
I am continuing to have conversations where it is possible to understand better what I am to do to honor the tree’s request that I take care of his legacy. There is more to be done. I am listening and staying open.