7/09/2011

Big Tree Art: Gothic Revival

Gothic Revival, Evan Wakelin
I enjoy doing big tree research on line because you never know what kind of good stuff you might come across. I am always on the lookout for great big tree art.

While studying the coast Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) recently, I came across Gothic Revival by Evan Wakelin. It is a surreal image that links together, for me, the importance of trees to the development of civilization and religion.

Old groves of trees are the original cathedrals. Trees were very important to the ancient Celts and Druids. Many of their religious sites were graced with Yew trees, Britain's oldest growing conifer, and one of the longest-living trees on earth. These trees represented birth, death, immortality and the cycles of life to ancient peoples.

Christian churches and cathedrals in places like Britain were often built on the religious hot spots of the Celts and Druids. Today, sacred Yew trees are still associated with these Christianized sites.

Large majestic trees have always stirred something in humans, and still do judging by how many people visit the remaining impressive groves of the world, whether a place like the incredible Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island, or smaller local groves of trees in parks everywhere.

It is interesting that the artist chose Douglas-fir and not Yew as the tree to match up with the Gothic cathedral. This might be because the Yew is a fairly short tree, whereas the Douglas-fir is potentially the tallest tree species in the world.

It is not entirely inappropriate since the Douglas-fir, according to many a logger, is the most important commercial tree on the planet. No other tree perhaps, has contributed as much to the development of our modern world.

Because of this we should treat the Douglas-fir - indeed, all trees and sacred groves - as the special entities that they are. These, the tallest of living things, are worthy of our worship and appreciation. We should be saving nature's last sacred cathedrals.

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