Wednesday Vignette – homage to a tree

When my friend Eve’s beloved cherry tree finally drew its last breath, and its gnarly old limbs were cut up, she kindly asked me if I would like to keep a piece of it. At first I said no, as I didn’t have any real idea of what I would do with it. (Which is a rather odd response, because I’m a shameless hoarder, and I don’t usually let a lack of ideas stop me.) But after a few days of stewing on her offer, I saw another impulse acquisition that had yet to find its use, and suddenly, the two merged in my head.

Homage to a tree - log in circle

I have a thing for circles, it seems. Maybe it’s the cyclical nature of time and existence that is its allure? In the case of Eve’s tree, it lived a life that spanned generations of their family, who watched it grow, mature, and die. Over the years, weddings and many, many dinner parties had taken place under its flowering reaches. It’s life had come full circle, so using this particularly suitable piece of metal junk seemed fitting. That fab thing weeping above it, is a Stachyurus salicifolia, whose green, dangly flowers are about to open.

I had found this circular metal object at a fun little store in our neighborhood called ReClaim It! I had no idea what it was, but I felt I needed to have it – for something. Just not sure what, yet. I brought it home, and it laid there for a few months. Finally, it spoke to me. I had toyed with the idea of using it as a planter, but had always thought it would look cooler turned on its side. If only I could figure out what to do with it – and how. And now I realized that the perfect thing to float in this shiny frame was a piece of Eve’s beautiful, old tree. I took her up on her offer, and chose a piece with an intersection of two branches, laden with licorice ferns.

What you see in the photo is a mockup of how I want it. I still need to figure out exactly how to secure it. For now, I’m using an upside down flower pot to elevate the wood. I want to plant more licorice ferns (Polypodium glycyrrhiza) around the base, but am not yet sure how to keep the log in place. I’d rather not have the pot be visible, but I might have to leave it there. That log is heavy, and needs something sturdy to rest on. The frame itself is rather flimsy, which adds to the challenge. My best beloved came outside when I was out there playing around with it. He laughed, and told me that my deep and shiny circle is a cover for a spare tire – probably from something like a 1980’s van. It’s a good thing he’s a patient man! He has had to put up with my endless junk hauling and garden experimentation for years, poor dear.

Hope you are all staying home and staying well. These are such very strange times, and I really don’t know what to expect from the year ahead. I spent the first half of the day sewing masks, most of which we’re sending to a hospital in a hotspot city – likely NY – if we can only get them done before their crisis subsides. If not, we’ll send them to the next one. We set up a family assembly line. The masks take a while to make, and we’re making quite a few of them. They are made from furnace filters (not the fiberglass variety), and have a metal clip over the nose so that you can shape them for a snug fit. The removable filter part fits into a soft cotton sleeve, which can be washed. They are of course no substitute for a real medical grade mask, but everything right now is on the premise of “better than nothing”. And, odd as it may sound, putting some effort into something like that is invigorating. It gives you the reassuring illusion of being able to do something about the virus – even if it’s just an illusion. Anyway, after five hours, I had to take a break from sewing and go outside and do something else, like finish some half-done projects. More of the same tomorrow, I imagine.

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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15 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – homage to a tree

  1. A good idea. I trust we will see the finished work

  2. Kris Peterson says:

    I hardly believed you’d pass on taking part of that tree so I’m glad you came to your senses! Best wishes with the sewing project – that’s good work and I’m sure it’ll be appreciated. My WV is more mundane:

    • annamadeit says:

      Ha – I don’t blame you! But then again, you haven’t seen the cluttered mess that is my backyard. It gets overwhelming sometimes. Anyway, this represents two pieces less laying around. Hopefully more cleanup projects in the near future…

  3. I love Reclaim It, and have found quite a few interesting things there over the years. What you’ve made seems like an excellent use of both items!

    My WV:

    • annamadeit says:

      I love it too – you just never know what you’re going to find there. I used to stop in quite often, and was really sad (though not at all surprised) to find that they’ve shut their doors – for now, at least. Fingers crossed they will manage to open up again after this is over. Of course the same hope goes out to ALL businesses who have had to go the same route. In the meantime we are all going to have to get more creative in how we conduct our lives. ReClaim It were way ahead of the current trend…

  4. Tina says:

    I love it!! Actually, the pot doesn’t look that bad. Do you have access to that beautiful Oregon rock, the dark ones (I don’t know the names of rock, sorry!) that might serve as a base? Just a though.

    You’re so good to make the masks, it sounds like it’s a team effort?

    Here’s my WV today, thanks for hosting:

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks, Tina! I think you’re talking about basalt. That’s a thought, for sure… I’ll add it to my options…

      Yes, the mask-making involves the entire family, except maybe the cat. Dear hubs and I are doing most of it, but it’s fun to have everyone take part where they can. 🙂

  5. tonytomeo says:

    How sad that the tree needed to go. I have been writing about a pair of flowering cherries here that I was supposed to cut down a long time ago. The trunk of one is now so decayed that I can not delay removing them any longer (except I am presently unable to work.) I will need to write an obituary for them, to post for the neighborhood to see.

    • annamadeit says:

      I can assure you there was not a dry eye when it happened, and the flag was at half mast. It’s such a gut punch to lose such a marvelous tree. It lived a long, wonderful life, as the centerpiece of the garden, and was very well loved. It lost at least a rotten limb each year, and this last spring, it didn’t even leaf out. It was time for a new chapter. I think you are right in writing an obituary. These kinds of trees deserve that.

  6. What a great idea, making masks for a hot spot hospital. A positive alternative to wringing one’s hands.

  7. hb says:

    That looks great, the wood inside the metal circle. It’s like a frame for the tree. You did good.

    I have a trunk section of the oak tree we had planted when we moved in–a 60″ box, not cheap. It died rapidly. Felt irked about that for quite a while, but now we have a wonderful oak I planted from an acorn–worth the wait, and better from an acorn. Sometimes the first attempt in life doesn’t work out, but then you get another chance!

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks, hb! Your oak story sounds somewhat familiar. I often find that so many things do better when planted small. AND they are so much easier to plant! It makes me wonder why I even bother with the more expensive and labor intensive bigger plants… Ok, I know the answer to that – I’m as impatient as they come. LOL!

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