grandmother tree

22 Nov

I have been refurbishing a boat,  getting her purty to party  as an Airbnb.  While working on the water, transforming the space with paint, fabric, linens, and elbow grease, I have also been sprucing up some often-tread pathways in my life.  I may do some of the same things I have done in the past, such as owning a boat, yet I am going over this same old territory in a new way, as a transformed creature.  I think SeeingM might say that I am rewriting the old script, more to my liking.  

There once was a story in which a boat became the crime scene of my life’s destruction.  Now the same rectangle space where salty sea meets river has water with a higher oxygen content and a funkier dance to its waves.   I have had support from my friends in the flesh and from those magical moments that seem to unfold from behind the veil, as well.

silver eagle port side interior

We took a break from the laboring and went to visit this ancient tree spirit whose roots I imagine flowing deep underground, holding this whole area together to keep it from flying off. My muscles were a bit sore, my dear friend’s knee was swollen, I felt I could sleep for days, but off we went to commune with this tree.  There is a solid, still and tangible presence to be felt for miles around this tree.




Trying to find estimations of this grandmother tree’s age led me to this photography session from a few years ago and to an interview with the photographer.  The naked bodies are such soft animals next to grey and craggily bark.  Nakedness going on in public at the Angel Oak, here in the deep south; oh my!


This oak has stood and grown and endured many, many phases of the moon and of man.  On her ground, I feel the flow of life in all her interconnected forms.  

Finishing up on the boat, David Gray comes on singing about his newfound TREEness of being, on the speakers I am reinstalling. On a floating platform. my feet are rooted for balance while my arms are overhead with a drill. A new script for winter and spring – the seasons bending my limbs around new corners.

Every day when I open my eyes now
It feels like a Saturday
Taking down from the shelf
All the parts of myself
That I packed away
If it’s love put the joy in my heart
Is it God by another name
Who’s to say how it goes
All I know is
I’m back in the world again

Like the lift of a curse
Got a whole different person
Inside my head
No more trudging around
Stony eyed through the town
Like the living dead no
It’s love that lifts us from the dark
Is it God by another name
Who’s to say how it goes
All I know is

It’s the only way to be

It’s the only way to be
I’m naked like a tree
It’s the only way to be
I’m naked like a tree
It’s the only way to be

Less than sand on the beach
Staring into the reaches of space and time
I’m singing out words
But the voice that I hear
It seems barely mine
If it’s love put the song in my heart
Is it God by another name
Who’s to say how it goes
All I know is
I’m back in the world again
Who’s to say how it goes
All I know is
I’m back in the world again

It’s the only way to be
I’m naked like a tree
It’s the only way to be, the only way to be, the only to be, the only way to be, the only

Read more: David Gray – Back In The World Lyrics | MetroLyrics

17 Responses to “grandmother tree”

  1. ptero9 November 22, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    How fun Marga! I love your boat.

    Years ago, I lived on a float home on Hayden Island in Portland. Although I ultimately had to give up ownership because it had too many structural problems and the community I lived in decided to change the slip rental to slip ownership and I couldn’t afford a down payment, I loved living on the water. There is a sense of being among something profoundly elemental being so close to the water.

    I wish for you all the best with your boating and treeing adventures!


    • marga t. November 22, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

      Thank you, Debra.
      I love those float homes! Here we can only have boats in the slips, but I would love for that to change. I will probably live aboard when my girls launch into their own lives away from me. Something to look forward to…I agree about the elemental nature of this life; I love the way the docks go up and down all day long by 6 feet, like watching the earth inhale and exhale every day.
      Hope all is well in your corner!

  2. Michael November 23, 2014 at 2:02 am #


    I love the story of your returning to the crime scene to launch the redemption scene, and the way the squeaky clean lines and surfaces that once belied a lurking difficulty have been replaced by a labor of love. There is something beautiful to behold in this healing symmetry. It goes perfectly somehow with the naked vulnerability at the tree– an organic life, a life without trappings or polished surfaces. Life as it may be lived.


    • marga t. November 23, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

      If one of my students had turned in the post above, I would have made them rewrite a bit to make the connections a bit clearer 🙂 Thank you for leaping across the crevasse connecting boat to tree and nudity. In the swirling of human brain activity and in the flow of life, I felt/feel a tremendous amount of connecting threads often – and that is where it is all unfolding, anyway! I am encouraged now to rewrite every crime scene or negative spin I have ever created retroactively, even in just the word choices I make in the now. What power we have in the choice of the lens we look through in the now – past and future created only in the now, after all. Mind-bendy 🙂 Listening to the rain, fixin’ to tackle a stack of research essays, wishing Michael a peaceful sunday, hopefully with many loving interactions with trees in your world!

      • Michael November 23, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

        PS – Missing the lovely presence of SeeingM as well, and in synch with our recent exchange about the movie Inception as well as our earlier extended tribal discussion about our future and past selves and the way we all influence one another, I went and saw Interstellar yesterday. (Another movie by Christopher Nolan, who did Inception.) You will find some beautiful mind-bendy, time-and-space bendy morsels there if you get a chance to check it out. I dare not say more… 🙂

    • marga t. November 23, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

      Keep your fingers crossed for me that this film will still be around when I finish the backlog of work; can’t wait to escape into mind-bendy worlds – fictional, yet hmmmm…maybe not as much as we “think.” Thanks, Michael!

  3. Andrea November 23, 2014 at 3:17 am #

    This post is teeming with syncs! Shiver me timbers I love it! How I love trees, and how I am missing SeeingM. I think of her almost daily. I hope she is galavanting around on some fabulous escapade. Perhaps on your beautiful, funky and oh so beautiful boat! (I like Michael’s redemption scene above!) Incidentally, showed the pictures of trees and naked bodies to the kids; lots of squealing and oh gross and is that a…a…weener?!?! Which was actually really hilarious. However. We did have a really great discussion about why babies get to be naked, and who told you it was gross, and why do you think that, and how would the picture look if the people were clothed? After lively discussion on the way to the grocery store for Thanksgiving shopping, they realized that it was someone else’s belief system that judged naked humans as inappropriate. I think I’ll call it Turkey Enlightenment. 🙂 I love these little peeks into your world, so rich and wonderful to spice up everyday life with well…everyday life.

    • marga t. November 23, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

      Oh Andrea, how fun the way you share with me here and share with your lively compadres, using every piece of information that comes along as stimulus and jumping off points for wondering – while juggling Thanksgiving shopping no less; you are a wonder! My world has shrunk and expanded so much that the handful of far-flung friends/kin are with me – do you ever feel who is actually with us, unseen but felt, even in the ordinary flow – I think it keeps me going to realize these connections are more real than I could have ever imagined (once I cleared out the chaotic, noisy busyness that passes for a more normal life:) How about a field trip to some exotic places for field study on culture and clothing and views of the human body – hitting all the continents. Ready? We’ll gather up that marvelous SeeingM on our way! xo! m

  4. orbphotog November 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    So glad to be back in the world again with you, Marga! Thanks so much for the Tree Spirit Project video. Helped clarified my own reason for painting nudes to focus on their timeless essence. Now to the studio I go…

    • marga t. November 23, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

      Ah, nudes through so many lenses. Is this universally true the way I find the body becoming a more comfortable and beautiful thing to me the older I get, the further away from I get from my most visually appealing stages? Such a cosmic joke! I hope the studio is full of timeless inspiration!

  5. Amanda November 25, 2014 at 11:19 pm #

    “…the seasons bending my limbs around new corners…” Oooh. I love that. It reminds me of an artist named Bartholomäus Traubeck. He has created a record player that ‘plays’ the rings of a tree cut in cross section. Here’s a sample…

    I listen to it with my eyes closed and see such vivid visions of life lived around the trunk of that tree. So full of all the elements. Smooth flesh under the gnarly bark, full of scars from the insects, animals, antlers, water, ice, burning sun and wind all swirling around…

    The next time I listen I will watch and learn as the elements directly effect the ‘bending of limbs’. It reminds me to yield to the seasonal elements that are bending mine 🙂

    Thank you Marga! xo

    • marga t. November 29, 2014 at 3:08 am #

      The song of the tree feels like a story, doesn’t it? Life is experienced in these periods of silence, followed by discordant cords, then comes the jumbled and jangly notes all playing at once followed by a single questioning tone of longing, and then more silence. The end ends with a question – oh yes, of course it does! Thank you so much for this share, Amanda. I am just back from a jangly play of notes all on top of one another and now I am bending toward silence again. How is the tune in your world? I’m Imaging a cross-sectioned sliver of my body being playing in some form someday. Shall we will gather and hear the tales of all our clan played in musical form?

      • Amanda January 13, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

        I never saw this reply when you wrote it. So now, after coming back here to read another ‘tree’ musing, I saw this! I do hope that we will gather in some way to listen and dance to the musical interpretation of our lives…maybe that’s what the wind is whispering about?

  6. Kelly Kuhn November 27, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    Ah, so happy for you! These moments of clarity and gratitude and sweeping away are so very precious.

    Thankful for you, and for waiting until now – Thanksgiving morning – to read your post, stare and marvel at your tree, and listen to David Gray.

    My house is very dirty, definitely in need of elbow grease, but yesterday I spent hours releasing built up emotions – thanks in large part to multiple trips to the BMV. House cleaning takes many forms, doesn’t it? Now that I feel I’m in a clearing, I’m open to the beautiful energy that surrounds us, and thanks to your post, today I am going to look at the trees around me, breathe in their spirit, and say thanks.

    Love you, marga t.!

    • marga t. December 8, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

      I think I started composing a response to you, dear Kelly, on Thanksgiving, but it was a strange day and it got lost in the shuffle. My mom had a gall bladder attack and we spent a good part of the day with her at the hospital. Strange flow to anything anymore, keeping me on my toes. I know you are right there with me with the new chapters you have begun. So very nice to touch back to our little wordpress windows for connecting, relaxing together between sessions of physical, emotional cleaning, clearing. Much love to you, Kelly K!

  7. ~meredith December 7, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    glittery star smiles brighten
    above a misty canyon
    for the lovely marga.
    echoes of delight
    ganesh does
    the wave
    clearing any obstacle
    inhibiting new ventures.
    🙂 ~.m

    • marga t. December 8, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

      Felt back and forward
      in the flow of my time,
      his trumpet blast
      of blessings, ~. m!
      Thank you for sitting
      with me a bit by
      Michael’s fire, letting
      me gaze at the world
      through your silent
      spying eye…

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