New Horizons


some very old trees

some very old trees

In the midst of all of the darkness we find ourselves in, there are exciting and positive things happening. We can’t dwell on death but we can work on taking care of Mother Earth.

A young woman named Meryl Marsh is the director of Archangel Ancient Tree Archive. This is a world wide organization that devotes itself to preserving the DNA of our oldest and strongest trees on the planet; trees which have survived drought, fires, insect infestations and the greed of loggers.

Ms. Marsh and her team cut limbs off of these trees to use them to preserve the DNA, and the genetic memory held within the DNA. All living things have DNA and we are connected to the Universe and to each other. Guns, fire, saws, brutality cannot break that connection.

The people in this project are working to ship these small branches in coolers to specialized labs where they pare them down and root them and try to grow again that wonderful tree that it came from.They are having a 2 % success rate. Yes, it does sound small but as they learn more I know they will have more successes.

Their successes include Irish giant oaks, and our Sequoia treesThey will take the living offspring and replant them in their countries of origin, where they will grow and perpetuate the grand old forests. Imagine refilling the world with strong living trees. The Giant Sequoia, Black Willow and Redwood trees are also being used. Good luck to this inspiring organization. I am sure Mother Earth will reward your spirit and love for all her living creatures.

Hug a tree today and tell it how important it is to you.

Hug a tree today and tell it how important it is to you.

The Blessing of Trees


1000 year old trees in wales

1000 year old trees in wales

I really love trees and the energy they give off is truly amazing. They are so strong and protecting. They help keep the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Mother Earth needs that assistance.When I was a little girl, I used to think trees sleep in the winter. And woke up in the spring.

“The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.

The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
the rhythm of the sea,
speaks to me.

The faintness of the stars,
the freshness of the morning,
the dewdrop on the flower,
speaks to me.

The strength of fire,
the taste of salmon,
the trail of the sun,
and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.

And my heart soars.”
——Chief Dan George

 Truly Magestic Tree

Truly Magestic Tree

Our most secred scripture is the “holy book” of Nature

“It is written on the arched sky,
It looks out from every star…
It is spread out like a legible lanuage upon the
broad face of an unsleeping ocean.
It is the poetry of Nature,
It is that which uplifts the spirit within us…
—Thomas Berry

A tunnel of trees

A tunnel of trees

Oak Alley Plantation, NO; Acrylic on stretched canvas;  By Barbara Mattio

Oak Alley Plantation, Lousiana; Acrylic on stretched canvas; By Barbara Mattio

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The Sacred Writings for Mother Earth


The trees are our guardians.

The concept that Mother Earth is sacred is not a contemporary one. Through the millenniums all spiritual paths have written, repeated and taught sacred prayers and thoughts about our earth. Some are filled with praise or thanksgiving. Some are requests for the needs for the earth and the people. Some are just being aware of the beauty of Mother Earth.

Over time, people have used Earth Prayer to maintain and return to a vivid relationship with the Earth. Sometimes, we just have an appreciative heart for our food or our water. As all of the grateful thoughts and prayers, Gathas or verses we read during our meditations rise to the Heavens we look for forgiveness for the injury we have done to our planet and request healing to reduce the damage.

“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
Across the door-sill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep!
—Rumi

“All life is your own,
All fruits of the earth
Are fruits of your womb,
Your union, your dance.
Lady and Lord,
We thank you for blessings and abundance.
Join with us, Feast with us, Enjoy with us!
Blessed be.
—Starhawk

“Holy persons draw to themselves all that is earthly.”
—–Hildegard of Bingen

“I entrust myself to earth,
Earth entrusts herself to me.
I entrust myself to Buddha,
Buddha entrusts herself to me”.
—Thich Nhat Hanh

“May the axe be far away from you,
May the fire be far away from you;
May there be rain without storm,
Lord of Trees, may you be blessed.
Lord of Trees, may I be blessed.”
——Hindu Prayer

“When you walk across the fields with your mind pure and holy,
then from all the stones, and all growing things, and all animals, the sparks
of their soul come out and cling to you, and then they are purified and become a holy fire in you.”
—Hasidic Saying

“Bless Adonai
who spins day into dusk
With wisdom watch
the dawn gates open,
with understanding let
time and seasons
come and go;
with awe perceive
the stars in lawful orbit.
Morning dawns,
evening darkens,
darkness and light yielding
one to the other,
yet each distinguished
and unique.

Marvel at Life!
Strive to know its ways!
Seek Wisdom and Truth,
the gateways
to Life’s mysteries!

Wondrous indeed
is the evening twilight.”
—–Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro

“Goodnight God
I hope that you are having
a good time being the world.
I like the world very much.
I’m glad you made the plants
and trees survive with the
rain and summers.
When summer is nearly near
the leaves begin to fall.
I hope you have a good time
being the world.
I like how God feels around
everyone in the world.
God, I am very happy that
I live on you.
Your arms clasp around the world.
I like you and your friends.
Every time I open my eyes
I see the gleaming sun.
I like the animals—-the deer,
and us creatures of the world,
the mammals.
I love my dear friends”
—-Danu Baxter, Four and a half years old

“Teach your children
what we have taught our children–
that the earth is our mother.
Whatever befalls the earth
befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.
If men spit upon the ground,
they spit upon themselves.

This we know.
The earth does does not belong to us;
we belong to the earth.
This we know.
All things are connected
like the which unites one family.
All things are connected.

Whatever befalls the earth
befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.
We did not weave the web of life,
We are merely a strand in it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”
—-Chief Seattle

Carolina Beach, NC; Photo by Barbara Mattio

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Glimpses of Autumn


Blue Ridge Mountains, NC Photo by Barbara Mattio

” There are countless paths to the mountain’s summit. Yet from it the same moon pours radiance over the landscape.”
—-Ikkyu

Blue Ridge Mountains, NC Photo by Barbara Mattio

Entering the forest he moves not the grass; entering the water he does not make a ripple.”

Niagara Falls, Ontario Photo by Barbara Mattio

“It is deep autumn. What kind of life is my neighbors I wonder…”

Niagara Falls, Ontario Photo by Barbara Mattio

” One day a monk spoke bitterly to the Buddha about the unbearable sorrows of the world. The Buddha remained silent. Then he pointed at the earth between his feet, and said: ” On this earth I have attained awakening.”
Splendor of the World….no Why.

All quotes excerpted from Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing

Emerald necklace parks, Ohio Photo by Barbara Mattio

Lake Erie Islands, Lake Erie, Photo by Barbara Mattio

” Wherever you are is home
And the earth is paradise
Wherever you set your feet is holy land…
You don’t live off it like a parasite.
You live in it, and it in you,
Or you don’t survive.
And that is the only worship of God there is.”

——-Wilfred Pelletier and Ted Poole

Chautuaqua Institute, NY Photo by Barbara Mattio

The Little Things


Bonsai Show Photo by Barbara Mattio

The other day I went with a friend to the Bonsai show and it was a wonderful time. In the past the bonsai’s I have seen were indoor plants. I saw so many amazing outdoor plants and trees that were in miniature. It was so thrilling to see all of the tiny evergreens and the very tiny flowers.

I saw deciduous trees, all sporting a riot of colors. A miniature forest made up of tiny trees with perfect little leaves. I was amazed to see the texture, veining and color so familiar and yet so new in its tininess. Some were even smaller than any I had ever seen.

Bonsai Show Photo by Barbara Mattio

So much perfection was stunning and impressive to see. Tiny flowers looking like little specks of star dust landing on the branches. You could almost see in your mind’s eye a tiny bird sitting on a tiny nest. It is so touching to see a little leaf, smaller than your fingertip, just perfect in design and textures. The trunk gnarled and winding around itself just like you would see in every forest you have ever been in.

The Universe is an amazing place full of perfection, beauty, and breathtaking detail. That was what really got me. The detail that left nothing out. Each flower and tree complete in its minuteness. I think the Bonsai made me think much more about the detail that goes into everything in the Universe. What a wonderful gift to see from new eyes and perspective.

Bonsai Forest, Photo by Barbara Mattio

The Last Rose of Summer


Needlework by
Barbara Mattio

There is a bittersweet energy about October. I gaze out at my garden and a smile comes to my face. The roses continue to bloom despite cooler evenings. We are almost at the time to say goodbye to their gentle fragrances and delicate petals. A farewell to their beauty. Cool temperatures day and night will eventually take each last bloom and end its beauty. We are not bereft though as Autumn brings a brilliance of color as a consolation prize. So far, we have begun to see the green turning to vibrant colors of red, gold, orange and yellow.

It is the last gift of the cycle of life. The last brilliant colors before Mother Earth goes to her hibernation and the world turns white, gray and brown. It is a blessing to know that as the cycle spins it never stops and we will have a fresh, vibrant and exciting Spring. I love the anticipation of the renewal of the earth, with the springing up of the early spring bulbs soon to be a riot of color and a sudden rush of sweet fragrance.

For now, there is the bittersweet of the last of the flowers and the last of my beloved roses until the spring. Since this is the cycle of life, the promise that after a rest the world will renew itself and we will once again frolic among the flowers and trees.

So we say goodbye to the bees working hard at gathering the pollen and the ladybugs and the iridescence of the dragonflies. A last wave of the wings of a butterfly and the song of the cicadas at night. They will return in the spring and the cycle will begin again.

A Jewish Prayer

And G-d saw everything that was mad, and found it very good.

And The One said: This is a beautiful world that I have given you.

Take good care of it, do not ruin it.

It is said; Before the world was created, the Holy One kept

Creating worlds and destroying them.  Finally this one was created and was satisfied.

Adonai said to Adam; This is the last world I shall make. I place it in your hands; hold it in trust.

Autumn in Western North Carolina Photo by Barbara Mattio

Our Home Mother Earth


Well, yes I am writing again about our beloved trees and caring for Mother Earth. We have a responsibility to her and yet it is more than responsibility.
Mother Earth gives us our home and amazing beauty. If you love something, you need to care for it. Caring for our home is imperative or else she and we will die. There are a million things each of us can do, one simple thing is to plant a tree somewhere. The energy of trees is so tremendous and we need all of our growing things.

There is a very simple scientific principle which brings home the importance of our trees and flowers and gardens. When humans breathe we exhale carbon dioxide which plants and trees need. The trees and flowers and crops give off oxygen which we need to breath. It is a cycle that happens every second of every day. It takes no effort, except that we not cut down our rainforests and green areas. It is vital though to our existence.

“May our corner of the earth join us
in blessing the Lord
fruit-laden papayas, fig trees in bud
You, guavas, replete with promise,
bougainvillaeas of every color,
beans that twist and clamber,
tomatoes and all green vegetables
and you, fields of rice in the valleys,
O praise the marvels of the Lord!

And you, Bamboo, who own neither flower
nor fruits, sing a song of praise to the Lord,
for you are rich in other ways:
supple and lively, hold your head high,
yield before the storm, but do not break.
Your shoots, hugging to one another all close,
will confront the hurricane.
Then, when it’s passed,
lift up your head!
And if the typhoon sweeps you away,
let it carry you with it.
Someone will find you lying on the road
or maybe you will kindle a poor man’s fire
or be made into a balance pole
to ease Man’s burdens!

If need should arise, let yourself be split
into strips by the hand of a clever craftsman.
Thus you will become a mat or a basket,
a broom or a brush—-again, on demand,
let yourself be used whole, without hesitation,
to support the sail of a sturdy junk
or enable a fisherman to cast his net.

In you, Bamboo, some will seek inspiration
to guide their brush towards lines of beauty,
or make of you a flute or a pipe.
Let yourself be emptied of self that you may
sing a melody new.
Some may try to make of you a barrier
to separate people one from another
Then let your leafage vibrate with the rustle
or a call which will resound near and far
and invite them to live in unity and love!

—Translated from the French by Mary Rogers

For All the Secret Dancers


“They flew up one spring day
just as the oaks were beginning to bloom,
green and yellow warblers, filling the tree
with music and bright darting movements.
The mother and girl stood outside
and marveled at the sight—–
the mother’s hand steadying her shoulder,
the child swayed backwards, closed her eyes,
opened her mouth, and swallowed the tree
like a spoonful of honey.
She tasted the sweet tasseling blossoms of oak,
felt the flickering wings,
the sway of the branches—-swallowed it whole,
then opened her eyes, and breathed it out again.

But the tree had infiltrated her body
like iron in earth or smoke in wind,
like salt in water she became infused
with its quickening brightness.
She grew old listening to music,
she opened her mouth, and let it run in
until it came out her feet and fingertips,
the flickering motions of color and song,
as bright as jewels.

You can see her in the garden bending over the beds;
suddenly she lifts her face and smiles
as if she is drinking up the sunlight;
she sways above the bean-rows and marigolds,
weaving webs of light with long hands;
or in the morning when she sets the kettle on the stove,
turning in her shuffling slippers,
she lifts the shawl above her head,
and does again the dance of wings and branches.”
———-Virginia Haiden

Photo by Barbara Mattio

Ms. Haiden is a poet and mother of four and grandmother of two. She is a rock hound, gardens, enjoys cooking and jewelry design.

Photo by Barbara Mattio

 

The Sound of the Trees


By Robert Frost

” I wonder about the trees.

Why do we wish to bear

Forever the noise of these

More than another noise

So close to our dwelling place?

We suffer them by the day

Till we lose all measure of pace,

And fixity in our joys,

And acquire a listening air.

They are that that talks of going

But never gets away;

And that talks no less for knowing,

As it grows wiser and older,

That now it means to stay.

My feet tug at the floor

And my head sways to my shoulder

Sometimes when I watch trees sway,

From the windows or the door.

I shall set forth for somewhere,

I shall make the reckless choice

Some day when they are in voice

And tossing so as to scare

The white clouds over them on.

I shall have less to say,

But I shall be gone.”

In remembrance of Buzurg Mir Hammon, who taught me to hug trees and to fall in love with the Beloved.

Photography by Barbara Mattio

Photography by Barbara Mattio

For She is the Tree of Life


Photo by Barbara Mattio

Here we are two days from Mother’s Day and I have blogged about the original mother. Today I wish to pay homage to the Nanas, grandma’s, Bebe’s, and Grams in the world. Many of us benefited from the comfort, wisdom and succor of our grandmothers. I remember both of my grandmothers clearly.
One was English and we would have high tea in the afternoons. We would play bingo with her friends and I always won. I remember the toy box in the closet off of the dining room. She came over on the boat from England with her husband and 6 children to find a better life. I have two pieces of furniture she brought to America. I feel her spirit every time I look at them. She was a brave woman who did not find America’s roads paved with gold. I think I get courage from her and I am grateful for what she has added to my life

My maternal grandmother was the anchor in my life. I called her “gramcracker” and she took it with great humor. In my eyes, the sun rose and set on her yet I was aware she wasn’t perfect. I wasn’t either and we loved each other just as we were. She was a night person, a trait I inherited from her. She would sit in her chair and fall asleep. I would creep out of bed and sneak behind her chair and watch TV until the station signed off .( I am fairly old.) I am sure there were times she realized I was there and she never said a word. I learned unconditional love and acceptance from her.

Both of these women influenced my life and taught me to put roots down. This is something I do even when my life is in flux. When life changes, I move my roots. I wanted to share the importance of these women, who though in the twilight of their lives, enriched my life more than words can describe. What I learned from them is worth more than any amount of  money. They were the trees which gave me reflections of  who I really was despite anything else happening in my life. The love they gave to me taught me how to love others and that I was loveable.

Thank you to all of the grandmothers who have influenced the lives of their grandchildren. I hope I am half as good of a nana to my nine grandchildren.

 

“The very commonplaces of life are components of its eternal mystery.”
——Gertrude Atherton