first lotus blossoms 32/72

working as part of a ‘Japanese 72 season micro-climate’ artist collaborative initiative within Treesisters)

Japanese season called ‘Shosho’/ lesser heat, 7th July until 22nd July .
Micro climate ‘first lotus blossoms’ 12th – 16th July.

Nothing as exotic as a lotus to report!
But, on the ‘pond’ theme, my son and I were privileged to witness a huge ‘coming out’ of the froglets from the pond at Crookston House where we are staying. They were everywhere!! We had to be very careful where we put our feet!

Back to the city and I joined a free workshop that was run as part of the ‘Victoria Crowe‘ retrospective at the City Art Centre.
I think she is my new favorite artist. My mind was properly blown after wandering through the galleries. Such a great feeling for nature and, particularly, trees. Inspirational too as she is still working now…into her 70’s.
The workshop was described as ‘Known and Imagined World’.
The title alone intrigued me.
The participants were encouraged to go out into Princes Street Gardens and find natural things of interest and bring them back to the gallery to use creatively, using inspiration from this wonderful artist….what I had not picked up on is that this was primarily designed for kids!!
Maia (9 1/2) and I had a lovely time!
And through this I made, a new, to me, tree-friend.
The Nothofagus betuloides, or Southern beech.
I always think I am pretty good at my trees, but this one had me stumped…even with Google, until the workshop ‘leader’ phoned a tree knowledgeable friend.
Only then was I even in the right family….

I sat and sketched it with a biro in my pad and watched as all the children interacted with it. I have a big soft spot for city park ‘climbing trees’….something so enduring about the way that, for sometimes centuries, they allow the children to clamber all over them….often polished by all the shoes and historical messages carved into their bark….

And then I wrote a poem for it….

To the unidentified 'climbing tree' in Princes Street Gardens, south.

I can tell how you are loved and touched,
as the earth shows beneath you, worn by many feet.
The way you lean is inviting.
Promising a safe height.
Your bark is furrowed and wrinkled,
Like a grandmother's smile.

As the wind pushes the sun in and out,
your contrasting shadows dance across your scaled skin.
Five stemmed trunk and growing out of the ground,
Like a hand.

Sometimes this hand is full of children.

At first I thought you were a pine, until I looked more closely.
No tree I have ever met before!

Dense tiny leaves and papery seeds....

"Mama. Mama! Look a special tree!"

A special tree indeed.

The children do not care what we have labelled you....
Only that you lean out so invitingly.

Kat Robertson
18th July 2019, Princes Street Gdns, Edinburgh.

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