For the Love of Trees: Arboretums, Activism and the Reverence of Creation

When Great Trees Fall

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.”

Maya Angelou

Photography by George Cassidy Payne

 

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Exchange Street, Rochester, NY

 

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Genessee Valley Park

 

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

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George Payne at Rattlesnake Point

 

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King’s Landing in Rochester, NY

 

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Mt. Hope Cemetery

 

 

 

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Exchange Street

 

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Gandhi Earth Keepers International Art Build

 

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Photosynthesis

 

 

 

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Watkins Glen Race Track

 

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Abandoned farm in Adams, NY

 

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Mt. Hope Cemetery

 

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Crescent Trail in Penfield, NY

 

 

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George Payne with Frances Moore Lappe

 

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Serenity Garden in Canandaigua, NY
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People who knew how to take care of the trees

 

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Exchange Street

 

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Exchange Street

 

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Genesee Valley Park

 

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Highland Park

 

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“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
John Muir

 

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Trees help fight climate change. Through the natural process of photosynthesis, trees absorb CO2 and other pollutant particulates, then store the carbon and emit pure oxygen.

 

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Mt. Hope Cemetery

 

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Seneca Park

 

Founded in January 2016, the Lower Falls Foundation is a social purpose enterprise in Rochester, New York, dedicated to revitalizing the Lower Falls Gorge. Check it out at www.lowerfallsfdn.org

 

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Litter cleanup at Maplewood Park and Lower Falls Park

 

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”
Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam

 

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Turning Point Park

 

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Mt. Hope Cemetery

 

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Seth Green Trail on the East Side of the Genesee River

 

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National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama, NY

 

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Charlotte, NY

“Look: the trees exist; the houses
we dwell in stand there stalwartly.
Only we
pass by it all, like a rush of air.
And everything conspires to keep quiet
about us,
half out of shame perhaps, half out of
some secret hope.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies

 

 

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Exchange Street

 

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Genessee Valley Park

 

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Thank you card from students at Roberto Clemente School # 8

 

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Genessee Riverway Trail

Visit www.arborday.org to learn more about trees!

 

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