If there's one poem that I would love to sing better, it's Trees by Alfred Joyce Kilmer ( 1886 -1918)
I came across this lovely piece of poem when I used to do more singing and taking lessons. Why this piece? What's the pull factor when you can see trees everyone, you might argue.
Singing this song, the beauty of trees overcome me. Nature and God inNature surround me and there I go, gazing at trees, in wonderment.
Here goes: Trees
I think that I shall never see /A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest/Against the sweet earth's flowing breast
A tree that looks at God all day/ And lifts her leafy arms to pray
A tree that may in summer wear/A nest of robins in her hair
Upon whose bosom snow has lain/Who intimately lives with rain
Poems are made by fools like me/But only God can make a tree
That shared, the wonder of trees is not over yet. An article I wrote was published in The GreenFingers newsletter of The Selangor And Federal Gardening Society.
Friends, I'd like to introduce you to Elzeard Bouffier, The Man Who Planted Trees.
The story goes that somewhere in deepest Provence, France, a shepherd, Elzeard Bouffier put his heart and soul into planting trees - 100 in the morning and 100 in the afternoon. After the deaths of his wife and son, single-handed, with only his dog as a companion, he cultivated a forest over 4 decades. What had been sparsely populated land, where nothing new except wild lavender, Bouffier transformed desolate landscape into a valley akin to the Garden of Eden.
On 11 Oct, 2008, I was in The Actors Studio in Bangsar Shopping Complex among many parents and excited kids. I was with the Sunshine ladies who volunteer their help at Selangor Cheshire Home and we were on a special outing with the disabled residents of the Home. All of us waited eagerly for the performance of 'The Man Who Planted Trees'.
Soon the 'green' message became clear. Undeterred by 2 World Wars, Bouffier kept planting , planting and more planting - oak, birch, beech ... tending the same with no thought of personal gain. He never faltered though he lost some trees to rodents and unpredictable conditions.
Image from the web
The trees grew and wondrous things occurred. Water flowed in the brooks that had been dry for many years. Life blossomed and the harsh barren land changed drastically.
Image from the web
How the audience, most of all, the children, reacted to the whistling wind, the wafting scents of the lavender, the rain mist, the birds twittering and flying above our heads on fishing rods. Truly, it was a multisensory treat.
The children loved the stick-loving puppet dog and warmed up to every antic of his. I suspect, if they could take him home, he would be THE prize, unanimously claimed!
Winner of the Total Theatre 2008 for Story Theatre
The show had its touching and sad moments too. Bouffier lived to a ripe age of 84 and died in a hospice in Banon. Few knew him as the hand and soul behind this environmental miracle.
I left the theatre warmed in my heart by the impact of this simple fabulous eco tale which reached out to the children and adults. As author, Jean Giono states, the moral message of the story is 'to make people love the trees' or more precisely, 'to make people love planting trees'.
This message is so relevant in today's world where issues of deforestation and destruction of the natural environment crop up with an alarming and increasing frequency.
The innovative staging of this eco message must imprint a certain degree of awareness and inspiration among the young and old and it further inspires those of us who are already committed to finding more ways to engage the young in spreading the 'green' message.
Let's connect with the world around us. GO GREEN!