December 28, 2008

What is life like for a graveyard tree, rooted in death?

Graveyard Trees

Are their psyches distorted?

Graveyard Trees

But what is any soil composed of...

Graveyard Trees

... if not the dead?

28 comments:

David said...

We are all rooted in death. It creates our psyches. We then distort.

Ron said...

Makes me wonder if the trees discuss the new batch o' cadavers!

"Mmmmm...Mrs. Plotnick. Foretaste of raspberries, and an earthy, loam finish."

Original George said...

Seen through the fish-eye, the tree reaches to the sun and heavens and is rooted in earth, from which new life rises.

Will the circle be unbroken?

Chris Wren said...

I really love what you're doing with these latest images. You should think about setting up a companion gallery site.

Lem said...

If anybody knows the answer to that it would be Treebeard

William said...

Barbara Walters used to ask her subjects what kind of tree they would be if they were a tree. Your tree photos look like the Bronte sisters. Even by 19th Century standards the Brontes all died young and lived in the awareness of death. Their vision was as bent and distorted as the limbs of those graveyard trees but equally beautiful and haunting....If a tree were as aware of mortality as humans are, they would all look that twisted and tormented. In a like way, all dogs would look like bloodhounds if dogs had mortal consciousness.

Meade said...

Ma'am,

Forgive me but you could not be more wrong about soil being composed of the dead. There happens to be a greater number of individual living organisms in a pint glass of rich loam than are all the mammals living upon the face of planet Earth at this present timeless moment. What is essential is invisible to the eye. You may remember that line from the hot Little Prince-reading upperclassman Lit major who desperately tried to bed you in 1969. (And who, I might add, can blame him?)

So please, it is almost 2009. We are now in a global post-spec-ial society. We've even already elected, as president, in order, a rat, a worm, and a snake. So please watch the organism-ism. You may find that you need to raise your game a little.

Just saying...

Thank you in advance.

- a secret subterranean homesick admirer

peter hoh said...

Tree in the first photo is seen from another angle in the third photo, correct?

BJM said...

My maternal grandmother is buried under an oak tree and it is very much as alive spiritually as any other tree I've encountered. Do I believe that the dead near and under the tree are present in the tree itself?

No, not really, however I planted an acorn from Nana's oak in my garden and the tree is a comforting presence.

ricpic said...

You'd think in the grave you could get some dignified rest at last;
But n-o-o-o, your tomb is invaded by tree roots playing grab ass.

Meade said...

good one, pic

Cardboard FLOTUS said...

They say that the grass is always greener over the leach field. We have three Ponderosa Pines growing immediately next to our leach field that are the three fullest, greenest trees on our lot, most likely because of all that human waste feeding their roots. The trees in this cemetery, however, are subjected to any of the poisons that were used to treat the wooden coffins, as well as embalming fluid used to preserve the decomposing bodies. This must contribute to the haunted bark twisting over the dead.

There’s something to be said for Dylan’s line, “Let me die in my boots,” assuming the boots are leather and preclude a proper burial.

Meade said...

Cardboard: Not to get all Dylan nerd pedantic on you, but his song is actually titled Let Me Die In My Footsteps (Before I Get the Subterranean Homesick Blues).

Foot steps

You can listen to it HERE.

Cardboard FLOTUS said...

Good call.

I would like to argue that I conflated his bootleg discs with his song title but it’s more accurate to say that I projected backwards with a faulty memory.

Meade said...

All is forgiven. Be not troubled in your soul.

Ann Althouse said...

"Let Me Die In My Footsteps"... this is a preference to die standing up as opposed to lying down... or sitting down.

I wonder what percentage of people die standing up. Very few... I hope.

I think most people die lying down. In fact, the most likely place to die is in your own bed. Do you ever wonder how people can get to sleep at night when they are lying down -- the most likely position for death -- in their own bed -- the most likely place to die?

Meade said...

Why else do you think I always sleep standing up? With my hat on. I also use a standup desk. Think how upsetting that would be to all my fans if I just keeled over mid-comment? People would go, "Wha? what happened? How can we tell if he's still drawing breath?" I wouldn't want to unnecessarily worry anyone.

The truth is, I'm not old enough to die yet. Not ready.

Plus my taxes are in arrears.

Meade said...

I also only have sex while standing because, for most chicks I've known, dying is not a turn on.

ricpic said...

Plus my taxes are in arrears.

Living as I do in NYS it's a race between death and destitution.

amba said...

Depends. Wooden coffins, life is rich. Sealed coffins and embalming fluid, life is like when you can't get the goddamn package of Twinkies open and the preservatives are really bad for you.

amba said...

Do you ever wonder how people can get to sleep at night when they are lying down -- the most likely position for death -- in their own bed -- the most likely place to die?

What, "people"? You're a people -- what about you? Start with what you know. Do you have trouble sleeping at night lying down because it's too much like death? Do you say the prayer "If I should die before I wake . . ."

The only people who die standing up are the ones who are dead before they hit the ground. Tim Russert, probably. Only a few causes of death could do that -- firing squad, sudden cardiac arrest, ruptured aortic aneurysm.

Ann Althouse said...

"What, "people"? You're a people -- what about you? Start with what you know. Do you have trouble sleeping at night lying down because it's too much like death? Do you say the prayer "If I should die before I wake . . .""

It's only a matter of the odds. If you stay out of bed, for example, sleeping in a chair, you just increase the odds that you'll die in that other place. But I have often thought about what spot on earth is my portal into the great unknown. It is somewhere. That's for sure.

BJM said...

Althouse said:But I have often thought about what spot on earth is my portal into the great unknown. It is somewhere.

Wasn't that the question Rauschenberg's White, Red and Black series posed?

Isn't it curious that we share a common, known "entry" portal yet the exit remains open to individual interpretation.

Is the entry portal a revolving door as reincarnationists believe?

A reasonable proposition given that the exit portal is unknowable during life, yet...

amba said...

The thing about death is, I think, it never comes as you have imagined it. It always blindsides you in some way. That's it's lesson, it is completely outside your control and your imagining (which may be one reason why some people commit suicide: to cheat death of that humiliating power, the unexpectedness).

My favorite death story is 70-something old man Rodale, the founder of Prevention Magazine and a natural-health empire, talking about his healthy lifestyle on the Dick Cavett show and keeling over and dying in the middle of it. Someone with a black sense of humor was trying to tell us something with that one.

Ann Althouse said...

They never ran the show where Rodale died, but I remember later seeing the writer Jerzy Kosinski on the show saying -- intensely -- "A man died on your show!" to Cavett.

From Kosinski's Wikipedia page:

Kosinski told Newsweek in 1979, "I am not a suicide freak, but I want to be free... If I ever have an accident or a terminal disease that would affect my mind or body, I will end it."

Kosinski suffered from multiple illnesses at the end of his life. By the time he reached his late 50s, Kosinski was suffering from an irregular heartbeat as well as severe physical and nervous exhaustion. Kosinski committed suicide on May 3, 1991 by taking a fatal dose of barbiturates. His parting suicide note read: "I am going to put myself to sleep now for a bit longer than usual. Call it Eternity".


"Parting suicide note"... that needs editing.

amba said...

"Parting suicide note"... that needs editing.

Oh, that is the classic example of "needs editing."

Although some people, like Spalding Gray, apparently wrote more than one. Some of them turned out to be just rehearsals.

Cinn said...

I stumbled across your site..the pictures are beautiful. It is almost as if the trees and bending to listen to the dreams of the dead.

H.Collins said...

The voices of the dead entices the trees ears to move closer, and pay attention. Hope looms in the abyss.

Beautiful pics...