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Easter, the Man Who Planted Trees

We did lots of churchgoing on and around Easter, but I'm not really going to write about that. Just two observations

First observation: When we arrived at church for the Easter Vigil, which began at 8 pm, all the frogs were singing in the pond behind the church... they sounded so nice... like they were singing their own Mass, but one without so much blood and suffering and worry about the future and eternity and things...
Second observation... and it's not really related to Easter very directly at all, but...:the cattail sprout I gathered the other day (after writing about thinking I might try to gather some cattail sprouts), I decided not to eat. I decided to plant it in the swamp out back. So after Easter mass this morning, I went out there to the Source of all Swamp Waters, where the sands swirl and bubble, and all around the moss was brilliant green, and the skunk cabbages are unfolded more, and there are other things sprouting too, that I can't recognize yet, and I stuck the sprout right into the mud there. I wonder if it will grow...we'll see.

But I wanted to talk about The Man Who Planted Trees... It's a lovely story by Jean Giono, which used to be available online, but I'm not sure if it still is... checking...hmm... here's a version in French, but I read an English translation...Okay, no, it looks like it's not available on the Web in English. You can get the non-ripoff English translation from Chelsea Green (that link should take you to a page about the book).

Annny way... it's a story of an old shepherd who plants just a few seeds each day, but in doing so, over the decades, he reestablishes a forest in a barren mountainous landscape, and when the forest comes back, the water comes back, and the birds and animals and people come back, and instead of feeling all harsh and angry, the people are happy and generous and joyful. It got made into a beautiful animated short, whose style was all pastel-y and gorgeous. I saw it at a film festival, then later on PBS (I checked in Wikipedia and it says the short was directed by Frédéric Back, a French Canadian, and produced in 1987.)

I mention it, because on Saturday, the sun was shining, and people came out of their houses, and children were playing all around, and the hints of leaves are evident on tree branches (and some leaves are coming out--lilac leaves, and weeping willow leaves, and crab apple leaves) and the light was so golden, and everyone's mood seemed to reflect that sunny-ness, and it reminded me of the end of The Man Who Planted Trees.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 16th, 2006 02:10 pm (UTC)
I love that story! I believe I read it during an Easter party at my mother-in-law's when I retreated into the library because I was feeling like a total outsider. :)

The frog chorus sounds nice. I love the Easter Vigil Mass, but I had to go to the morning one instead, because my husband is a wimp. Two or three hours is too long? Hmph!
Apr. 17th, 2006 09:07 pm (UTC)
Isn't it a great story--so **positive*, so hopeful!

I love the incense in the Easter Vigil Mass.
Apr. 16th, 2006 02:44 pm (UTC)
Just wanted to say that I'm still feeling echoes of what you said when we were looking out at the trees that fringe the swamp, as they slowly swayed against Saturday's gorgeous blue sky: like kelp, waving in the current. But time to swim off to work now, thinking also of another vision of spatial synaesthesia that I heard in the poet's voice this morning (Monet Refuses The Operation - Lisel Mueller). You probably heard bits of it too: it aired when Susan Arbetter was interviewing the producer/editor of a 4 CD set, poems read by poets, from Walt Whitman to the present I think.
Apr. 16th, 2006 06:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the story. I wish I could maintain the small but dilligant planting of valuable seeds. I feel so useless sometimes and it stops me from getting anywhere. Action is he best thing, but old habits die hard as they say.
Apr. 17th, 2006 09:04 pm (UTC)
Growing things is actually very hard, I think! And it's very depressing when things die... that's why I'm kind of fond of weeds:

Old Farmer Asakiyume: "Yep, got me a bumper crop of dandelions, I do."
Apr. 16th, 2006 09:04 pm (UTC)
We could all learn a lot from those frogs.
Apr. 16th, 2006 09:57 pm (UTC)
I love your observations of nature. They are so nice to read. Thanks. Peace, Nancy
Apr. 17th, 2006 01:24 am (UTC)
You are a fantastic writer. I could very much see the leaves as you described them. Nothing puts me closer to God (or my concept of) than nature. So your story had a double meaning for me.
Apr. 17th, 2006 09:02 pm (UTC)
Me too, 100 percent (about being close to God).
Apr. 18th, 2006 08:57 am (UTC)
Great story and it's SO TRUE. People respond to nature in a positive uplifting way.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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