A week ago today, I took the train to the Bronx Botanical Garden to record my piece on the Swiss Mountain pine. All went smoothly, so smoothly that I was in and out of there in twenty minutes. Four takes, and it was actually fun, even against the sound of the lawnmower out the window. Come September a part of the text will go up on a sign near the pine, along with a phone number to call to hear the recording. It will be up for the foreseeable, not just at the garden, but on the web. Till then, here's a preview.
(On the Swiss Mountain Pine)
Usually the trees of our region do not make statements of themselves. Usually they’re a sprawl of thick green, never one, never singular. Austerity is a part of this tree's flair. It stops you in your walking. You want to touch its cones and needles, though you wouldn't dare. This tree makes you wish there were more trees like this around, trees that take you somewhere, trees that shake you out of yourself, trees that conjure up animals. You never wanted comfort or obliteration, though you’ve been led to think you should want those things. You want to smell the resin. You want to be pulled into the work of comparison, so you are not just looking at the tree, but looking at yourself too, whether you know it or not. The nouns start flying: a chandelier, a menorah, a torch, some antlers, a sea fan.