Arundo gigantea as big as a man’s arm: Beth’s Travels on the Bartram Trail 24

Take a moment to listen to my reading aloud of William Bartram’s Words, from William Bartram’s Travels.

The forever gone Arundo gigantea

*

Bamboo 580 by Beth Thompson

Bamboo 580 by Beth Thompson. Click on the image for a larger view and to order prints.

Grow no longer…

Arundo gigantea may no longer grow, according to Francis Harper, in his naturalist edition of William Bartram’s Travels. To be sure, I did not come across this reed during my travels in the Mobile River Delta.

Bamboo Forest 588 by Beth Thompson

Bamboo Forest 588 by Beth Thompson. Click on the image for a larger view and to order prints.

A gift from China…

I did find a more recent transplanted species growing in the south of the Delta, at Brookgreen Gardens. Bamboo there grew thick in a forest along the marshy swamp, and many of the bamboo canes grew as big around as a man’s arm. Perhaps the bamboo, an invasive species from China, has taken over and crowded out the Arundo gigantea so it can no longer gain a foothold in the rich fertile ground surrounding the Mobile River Delta.

Bamboo: Possible Perception 6046 by Beth Thompson

Bamboo: Possible Perception 6046 by Beth Thompson. Click on the image for a larger view and to order prints.

A special breed…

I mused over the bamboo I had found, a few in particular are a special breed of tree, called Kissing Trees.

Bamboo Kissing Tree 739 by Beth Thompson

Bamboo Kissing Tree 739 by Beth Thompson. Click on the image for a larger view and to order prints.

I have found Kissing Trees all over the Eastern United States. There was the one growing on the Bronx River in the NYC Botanical Gardens, the one just down the street from me on the Oconee at Ben Burton Park,

Ben Burton Kissing Tree 222 by Beth Thompson

Ben Burton Kissing Tree 222 by Beth Thompson. Click on the image for a larger view and to order prints.

the one in Oconee Forest, over by the intermural fields.

Oconee Forest Kissing Tree 147 by Beth Thompson

Oconee Forest Kissing Tree 147 by Beth Thompson. Click on the image for a larger view and to order prints.

And south of Athens, along the Oconee, after the merger of the North Oconee with the Middle Oconee, just past the Iron Horse, grows a kissing tree.

South Oconee Kissing Tree 153 by Beth Thompson

South Oconee Kissing Tree 153 by Beth Thompson. Click on the image for a larger view and to order prints.

I heart you…

Kissing Trees come in all different shapes and sizes, and have in common the names and initials of lovers carved into their bark. Sometimes the carving is a simple declaration of love, I heart Travis, some times there are pairs of initials surrounded by a heart.

Kissing Tree Heart 165 by Beth Thompson

Kissing Tree Heart 165 by Beth Thompson. Click on the image for a larger view and to order prints.

The impulse of love…

I have always wondered about this impulse, to carve one’s deepest emotion onto the side of a tree, to be seen over and over again through the years, slowly distorting as the bark grows around the carving, until the original sentiment is all but obscured.

Kissing Tree by Beth Thompson. Click on the image for a larger view and to order prints.

Kissing Tree Musings….

Do the carvers of Kissing Trees come to the tree alone and solitary to make their declaration?

Or do they bring their lovers with them and jointly declare their love for one another upon the tree?

Do they make a declaration of love upon the tree and hope that their lover will come upon it, unbidden, and realize their love for them in return?

Are they secret admirers, or do they get the courage to declare their love through the carving?

Is there, somewhere, a Kissing Tree where someone has made a declaration of love for me upon its bark?

An invitation

I invite you, my wonderful readers and audience, to click on an image to acquire. Owning a Beth Thompson Original will not only give you something to be proud of, your acquisition will go towards the creation of additional works, and the publication of this blog. 8 inch prints can be acquired starting at $40.

*Opening stanza from “The Slacks” by Trip Shakespeare 

This entry was posted in Beth's Travels, Possible Perceptions, Possible Places, William Bartram's Travels. Bookmark the permalink.

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