31 Days of Kissing the Wounds :: Day 23 ~ Dark Forms, Yearning

damagedshellpinepoint29may2015logo31daysWelcome to day 23 of 31 Days of Kissing the Wounds, a month of posts about the beauty, longing, and soul inherent in our damaged selves; in the world’s brokenness; in the imperfection, incompleteness, and transience of all that we love; in our recognition of each other as the walking wounded; and in the jagged, messy, splintery, deformed, sullied, unhealed parts of me, you, the natural world, our communities, the culture. Each post will look at these ideas from its own vantage point, which may not obviously connect with the others. I won’t attempt to tie them together.


“Trees are always the first things I seem to notice about places, or else the shape of hills. In England one becomes used to trees having dark trunks and light leafy branches; the reverse in Australia was quite astonishing. Silvery white-barks everywhere, and the darker leaves, made it like seeing the negative of a photograph. It reversed the whole look of the landscape.” — Agatha Christie, The Grand Tour: Letters and photographs from the British Empire Expedition 1922 (2013)







But the form of a winter tree, though it may be stark and withered, is liable also to be extraordinarily complex. The bare bark is channeled and cracked, and the directions of growth frozen into the form of each branch include saggings, twistings, splinterings, angles at which the branch has reached out or up. The form of the tree is a register of its history. The coloring, too, becomes as subtle as our approach is proximate: all the grays, blacks, and browns of wabi, with perhaps the weathered white of dead lichen or the blasted green of last year’s moss.”

— Crispin Sartwell,  Six Names of Beauty


threetreetrunksfells22feb2015 closerviewoddtreetrunkbarkkhnp18april2015 atlanticwhitecedartrunksbarkbradfordbog17may2015 knotelephanteyeacerdavidiifatherdavidsmaplebarktrunkarnoldarboretumjamaicaplainboston20feb2016 treebarktrunkarmelbowbircharnoldarboretumjamaicaplainboston20feb2016 orangishtrunksft7march2015 treetrunkpatternsandmossgbt19oct2014


Vertical by Linda Pastan

Perhaps the purpose
of leaves is to conceal
the verticality
of trees
which we notice
in December
as if for the first time:
row after row
of dark forms
yearning upwards.


And since we will be
horizontal ourselves
for so long,
let us now honor
the gods
of the vertical:
stalks of wheat
which to the ant
must seem as high
as these trees do to us,

silos and
telephone poles,
and skyscrapers.

but most of all
these winter oaks,


these soft-fleshed poplars,

this birch
whose bark is like
roughened skin

yellowbirchbarkcpt7jan2013 yellowbirchbarkkhnp1nov2013
against which I lean
my chilled head,
not ready
to lie down.



Thanks for checking in. And be sure to see what the other 31 Dayers wrote about.

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