This post introduces two books I’m engaged with, exploring their relevance to the tribute I’m writing about the contorted lodgepole pine trees. Both books are making me wonder what it is that makes these pines also “remarkable”?
The first is Remarkable Trees of the World, by Thomas Pakenham (W.W. Norton & Company, New York & London, 2002). It features individual trees that are gigantic, ancient, incredibly shaped, famous, legendary, and monumentally significant. The text is engaging and the photography is magnificent. I ask myself, “How can the pine trees I work with also be considered remarkable, especially in comparison with the remarkable trees of the world?”
The second book is The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, Discoveries from a Secret World, Peter Wohlleben (Greystone Books, 2015)
In a word, this book takes a uniquely “psychological” approach to the remarkable lives of trees–their individual and social behaviors, their moral character as they make choices, and follow an innate awareness and the guidelines of their “etiquette manual”. I’ve never read a book that takes a psychological and moralistic approach to the lives of trees (both deciduous and evergreen)–an approach also supported by numerous scientific studies and documentation.
Each book has expanded my sense of the possibilities for my tribute to Pinus contorta var. latifolia (Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine).
The challenge is to edit my voluminous ruminations–observations, questions, and opinions–about their physical, sculptural tree trunk shapes, and their figurative significance as symbol, metaphor, and allegory.
Until my next post, I’ll close with a recommendation for anyone who cares about trees: check out these two books.