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.
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.