Saturday, January 11, 2014
Friday, January 10, 2014
Would you stop to wonder? Could you just pass it by as you might any other tree? Would you make a judgment about the rightness or wrongness of such a sight? Would you smile? Frown?
I've not come across any blue trees near my home, but if one goes to Seattle, Sacramento, Houston, or about nine other public installation locations, you'll find them. Sculptor and performance and installation artist, Konstantin Dimopoulos explains that he creates artworks that "are grounded in my sociological and humanist philosophies. In my environmental installation, The Blue Trees, the colour and the Tree come together to transform and affect each other; the colour changing the Tree into something surreal, something out of this world. While the Tree, rooted in this earth reflects what we may lose."
Think about it, Dimopoulos, has made the passerby stop when he would not otherwise have. And she does think. Yes, we have had our impact on the trees, and here it is obvious. Elsewhere, we might not notice. So, also in The Blue Trees installation, the trees, a part of the natural world, are impacted by humans, yet here Dimopoulos has given them a voice. They call out to us to bring all trees to mind. We are jarred out of our lackadaisical hypnosis, and we are compelled to know more.
And when enough people stop to question, we can no longer idly allow the decimation of our forests in a mass of anonymity. We become accountable. And in this step, I see Dimopoulos as having succeeded beautifully poetical in his artworks.
Dimopoulos tells us that he has "always known that art is and has always been an extended part of nature and that art can effect social change. For that to happen one has to move out of the art institutions and galleries and move outside among nature and human beings in their living spaces." I couldn't agree more! To learn more visit http://www.kondimopoulos.com/thebluetrees/about/.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
An ancient tree is more than a beautiful plant, it is our wise teacher and guide. Each of us can think of a moment when we felt a sense of being overcome with the beauty of an ancient tree upon entering the cathedral of an ancient forest. The feeling grips us immediately; we are in awe. So many of us then react by pulling out our cameras or cell phones and quickly posing ourselves or companions in front of these ancient creatures and snapping a few photos as we take a quick loop then move on to the next "attraction." Not too many of us, linger, sit beneath our teacher and ask for some of it's wisdom. If you do, I urge that you will be richly rewarded.
I have a friend who received a vision that God is a tree. I am not disinclined to believe her. Or perhaps, God is in everything, and if we take a moment to listen to the lessons of the ancients, we become closer to God. After all, Adam and Eve dwelled in a garden and their lives and their fall from this original home are significantly intertwined with the tree-- the "tree of life", the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Buddha receives his enlightenment sitting beneath the Bodhi Tree. And the American Indians worship nature, traditionally living within, and not against, the natural rhythms of Nature.
I've stopped watching television. It has been about five years now. From time to time, when I visit a friend or family member, or I catch a glimpse of television at a public place, I am suddenly assaulted by the speed, the tone and the flashiness flickering across the screen. It is not natural. And it does not teach the lessons of the Ancients. To me it is hollow, and hollowing. I become discouraged, my thoughts distracted. There is no Holy here. There is no enlightenment.
The calendar tells us it is the beginning of a new year. Yet winter still caries us through our natural little death until we are reborn in the spring. For me, this is a time of finishing my resting, but anticipating the energy of rebirth. I indulge my introspectiveness knowing that soon will be the time to follow through with the new year's rebirth.
This year, I would like to encourage you, all of my friends, to also indulge your own introspection and to turn to our ancient teachers, the lovely trees. Go to a park such as in Big Sur or Big Basin, Grant Ranch or Sanborn. Take a walk in your neighborhood. Or go sit beneath the ancient tree in your own yard. Touch it and, yes, speak to it. Open up and it will communicate back!