Thursday, March 22, 2007


"A monument of wild nature, it had become engulfed in a tide of shabby, box-like buildings and stood among them sublime in its incongruity, mooring the neighborhood to its past, to an ancient, long-forgotten forest soul."
-Marc Peter Keane describing a camphor tree in a Kyoto shrine in The Art of Setting Stones

After being so sick last week, I've closed myself indoors this week, waiting, checking the weather--for the pollen forecast, not the temperature--and enjoying nature through this book. At this time of year, trees are not my friends, but I couldn't live somewhere without them. What I love about our neighborhood is the number of large trees, mostly live oaks, that shade the streets and houses. When E and I explored local neighborhoods (long before we were ready to buy a house), I had trouble imagining living in the many developments that had been bulldozed before building. It just didn't seem right that the houses were taller than the trees. I love being under a tree in the same shade others have enjoyed during the tree's history. In this book of essays, Keane gives amazing descriptions of different details of Kyoto gardens and what they tell us about history, humanity, and nature. It's such fascinating writing along with his beautiful black and white drawings.
I ventured outside for a walk this morning, and haven't felt congested yet, so I'm hoping I can get back out there and enjoy the trees again!

1 comment:

  1. love these illustrations and the quote from this book. we have 2 big trees that i love so much... a live oak in the back and a very old eucalyptus in the front. it was the eucalyptus, and its amazing scent on a warm day, that first made us love our house.


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