More On Trees

I have a strong urge to stitch another tree. It’s because of a profound book called The Overstory by Richard Powers (Vintage 2019), which I am reading. All day I have been thinking about this book and why it has affected me so deeply while, at the same time, trying to shake off an equally deep sense of gloom. More than that, I feel compelled to spread the book’s message. Bluntly put: in killing the trees the human race is killing itself.

The next terrifying thought is What can I do about it? I am not brave enough to spend ten months living on a platform in an ancient tree to protect it from being felled as do two of the characters in the novel. And in the end it did not help, the tree was cut down. I can try to spread the message of the book, by writing a blog post. I can plant more trees. I can pay homage to trees through my stitch work, I tell myself knowing that it will not help much.

The Overstory examines humankind’s blindness to the devastation we have wrought upon the Earth.

“What keeps us from seeing the obvious?” says Adam Appich, Professor of Psychology, later in the book while musing on the zealous actions he and his fellow tree followers had taken to protect old forests twenty years previously. He answers that it is other people that stop one from seeing. Earlier in the book someone points out that it is only through stories that people might come to see, or understand the dire situation.

Powers tells the stories of nine characters and how their lives are inextricably linked to the trees. He also speaks for the trees. Read it if you can.

Book cover photograph from website

This is the third time I am writing a post about trees. Three years ago, as a new blogger, I posted photographs of the tree quilts I had made and wrote about my fascination with trees. In November 2019 I repeated myself a bit, but with different photographs, in my second post On Trees.

25 thoughts on “More On Trees

  1. Thanks for this Mazzie β€”we all need re-minding.
    As always, your posts are interesting, and true
    🌳🌲🌴 🌱


      1. I picked the book up on Saturday. Hows this for a coincidence? I went to a bookshop in a another town, not far from her, a bookshop I’ve probably visited twice in the past 20 years (a small bookshop). Two ladies were stood in front of the fiction section. So I hovered near “self help” etc (because of social distancing). When they moved, I went straight to the book. I didn’t have to search at all.


      2. I am so pleased that you have a copy, and that you found it easily. It has made my day to know that a stitcher across the oceans read my emotional blog about the book and responded by buying it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your tree series – an on-going theme for you artistically and perhaps personally – pays homage to them in the best way you’re able…this is a good thing, Mariss.
    I’ve often thought about the impact of the burning of hundreds of acres of the Rain Forest this past year and about all those decades of work they (the trees) did to absorb CO2 for us humans ended up in smoke worse than the CO2 they were absorbing…
    A very weighty subject to tackle, but quilters are fearless!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Having grown up in a state with long prairie views where you might see a lone tree now and then, I appreciate all the trees around me now. I find comfort in having trees around me. However, it’s easy to forget what else they give us. Your series keeps the conversation alive and is a visual reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh! I have The Overstory sitting in my home library, I picked it up from a thrift shop. I think the human race is on a collision course with disaster and what we have done to the earth is quite terrible. I am sort of terrified to read the book now as I might grow even more mad with humans (and myself). Better go plant some more trees first.
    I am fascinated with trees also and I am lucky to live in an area with lots of trees (I can see trees out all my windows and listen to birds in the trees each morning when I wake up. Trees are sacred.


  5. Thanks for this reflection, Mariss. A good friend recommended this book as well a few years ago — your post reminds me of it. I must read it. Trees truly are marvelous. 🌳


  6. I’ve found there is an e-book to be had on my local library service but there are 26 people before me! The review that someone has already left, shows it’s a great book. Here in my city, the foresight for the demise of trees grows – all to do with “housing” of which more and more is required. No thought to replacement trees as often we see a tiny weeny shrub that will never amount to much, a token – placed somewhere in the new complex!


    1. Thank you for wanting to read the book and reserving it at your library. It’s heartening to know 26 others also want to read it.
      It is some compensation for the disheartening cutting down of more trees for housing. It happens here too…


  7. Thank you for your thoughtful post and also for the reference to the book. I also love trees and it is so hard not to be overwhelmed by a sense of gloom (and even doom) but we have to try to find ways to not be overwhelmed and to try to live more lightly on the planet in our daily lives. Thanks for the reminder that trees can be inspirational on so many levels.


  8. I am relatively new to your blog and very much enjoy your writing and creative work! I, too, love trees, loved the book, The Overstory, and liked going back to read your previous tree posts. I live in a wooded area, walk regularly, and frequently photograph trees to post on my blog, along with my quilting projects. It occurs to me that I have hardly ever used tree images in my quilts and I must remedy that! Thank you for your blog!


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