Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tree of Tales

One of my favorite short stories of all time is in the book "Dreams Underfoot" by Charles de Lint. The story is about a poet who goes back to her old university and finds out that they cut down a beautiful oak tree that used to sit right outside the library. She runs into a "conjure man" who tells her that it was a tree of tales, and that it was one of the last ones left. So she goes back, take an acorn that's near the stump, brings it home, plants it, and as it grows, she starts telling it stories. It shows up in some of his other stories (she plants it in a park) as a tree that seems to draw people to sit near it and talk to it, and the stories make it grow huge.

Now I know it's just fiction, but there have been plenty of studies showing that plants react when you talk to them, play them music, and so on, and that they thrive that way. They've also shown that plants can have connections to people. And trees (and plants in general) have always seemed to have personalities to me. So I have a small tree in my apartment, and I plan to tell it stories and play music and stuff for the next year, then donate it to the people who are planting trees in a park next March. It'll either be a tree of tales ... or if not, it will at least provide some nice shade and stuff for the kids in the park.

Have any of you read about religious rituals or spiritual practices in books and stories and they just felt so right that you adopted them anyway, even knowing they were made up?

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