Meditations on the Breath of Trees


Several years ago, the way I viewed trees changed dramatically.  I was at a lecture on deforestation, when the speaker provided this dramatic statistic: “A mature tree processes approximately 300 gallons of water a day.”  It occurred to me that a tree is more than an aerial reach of branches and terrestrial dive of roots.  A tree is an object of breath.  What we cannot see around a tree is a great plume of water vapor.  At the time, I was working with inks composed of carbon derived from burning the heartwood of pine trees.  I saw a dramatic material link: the living tree produces a plume of water; being burned, the tree produces a plume of carbon.  I decided to see if I could use this carbon from the tree to articulate the breath of trees—to render the invisible visible.

Constellations of Humanity

Each luminous dot on this map represents one reader of this poem. As the number of readers increases, the stars begin to cluster and form an increasingly detailed constellation. My intent is to show how brightly a poem glows across our world. I welcome your light.

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