Sunshine and Moonshine

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“Autumn Splendor” – Frick Park – Pittsburgh, PA

Moonshine… Evening rising… Sunshine falling…
Cold wind blows away the morning sun calling…
Alone with you… Together with a meadow lark…
Seasons slide away into the never ending dark…

Sunshine fleeting… Fog rising off the calm water…
Flashbacks to carefree days… Bud and sunshine blotter…
Steadfast we glide across mountains made of lime…
Aging is just the way we come to terms with time…

We will shine… Our reflections dance on the still lake…
Confidence is nurtured… Bread is what we break…
In the morning spiritual energy tends to rise and fall…
When the weather breaks we will answer natures call…

Nightfall resigns… Yet our spirits continue to rise…
We are limited to the earth… Birds rule the sky…
Our souls fly above the clouds and into outer space…
Some folks pray for peace… Others pray for grace…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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A Little Help from my Friends – Contrast

This gallery contains 7 photos.

I had planned to spend more time on this post… But given that it is Spring… I have to go to work… Thank you for all of the supportive comments on the last post… But keeping with my statement that I will not be posting or answering comments… I hope everyone understands that I appreciate […]

For My Friend

Squill

“Singular Squill” – © chriscondello 2013 – Calming blue… Soul soothing tones… The perfect companion on a day like today…

I wrote this yesterday… But I couldn’t press post until today… Sorry for the delay…

Today I received some grave news regarding a close family friend… Things are not looking good for him right now… This is not something I have had to deal with in quite some time… My initial feelings were rather cold… Having used heroin for the better part of a decade… I had become accustomed to regular death… Almost hardened to it… I expected it… And as a user… I embraced it…

It took roughly ten minutes for what I had just been told to sink in… Oddly… My initial feelings reminded me of being dope sick… I just felt ill… My initial reaction was purely physical… My stomach twisted… My head started to throb… Then I realized what was happening…

My face got warm… And it became difficult to see… Weird… My mind left the present… And immediately focused on the past… Memories… And not the bad memories I commonly associate with the people I used to use drugs with… But good memories… The kind you relate with a real friend…

The feeling was so foreign to me that the only thing I could comprehend doing was heading to the woods… It is the only place that makes any sense to me at all… Walking at break neck speeds… I choked back tears along the entire seven block walk to Frick Park… I have severed a finger without making a sound other than quietly asking to be taken to the hospital… I don’t cry… But today I cried…

Normally when I get in the woods I become a different person… I become highly aware of my surroundings… I look for color… Observe movement… Listen to everything… I don’t just think of it as walking through the woods… I walk with the woods… I don’t subtract… I add…

Today was different… I was expecting the good forest vibe to trump my grief… I was expecting the trees to kill my pain… Or at least dull it… Like an opiate dulls physical pain… But it did not… Although I was no longer on the brink of crying… I was still lost in thought… As I walked aimlessly through the woods… I realized that my mind was far from the present… I had no focus… I had no aim… I was just off-balance…

As I started to realize what I was feeling… I was able to focus it… And use it to some degree… Though I would compare it to learning to walk all over again… Normally… When I find a place to stop and work… I can focus on the present and get right to it… But today I could not focus… My mind was in the trees…. My mind was with my friend…

TopStack

“Watching” – © chriscondello 2013 – It is difficult to write about the feelings I had running through my mind while I was on this rock… Really painful…

As I clawed my way to the top of the steepest trail in the park… My mind was focused on getting as far away from the relentless onslaught of people walking their dogs through the park as humanly possible… On a normal day… This is one of the parks best attributes… But not today…Today I needed to get as far away from them as possible… I needed a place to be invisible…

At the top of one of the trails lies a shale outcropping… From this rock… I can see five trails… From this rock… I can see myself… From this rock… I can see you in the pale gray distance… I will do more than this stack of stones… Maybe 100 stacks… Maybe 1000 stacks… I just don’t know… I won’t know until it feels right… The only thing I do know… Is he deserves more… It is very rare to know someone who has had a positive effect on every person they came in contact with… Those that do… Deserve something special… I don’t grieve like most people… And I don’t memorialize like most people… But I do cry…

HoldingUp

“Holding Up” – © chriscondello 2013 – Because when you needed a friend to help hold you up… He was always available… And willing to help…

I will create art……
I will plant trees…
But most importantly…
I will not forget…

peace – chriscondello

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Natural Obsession

StackedCopy

“Stuffed and Stacked” – Sculpture – Created 4/7/2013 – © chriscondello 2013 – Frick Park, PA

Bare limbs crisscross against a baby blue sky…
Waving to me on the ground…
The wind through the trees… A cool spring breeze…
Filling my mind with the sound…

Like leaves blowing on the silent forest floor…
Ebb and flow like the ocean waters go…
Clearing the bluffs and filling the cracks…
Silently covering my carefully chosen tracks…

When suddenly I’m feeling electric…
Not alone here… Not the only eclectic…
Surrounded by nature… She keeps me alive…
Teaching me to live, love and ultimately thrive…

The trees’ keep me in the presence of god…
But occasionally one must fall…
Everything falls… But the strong get back up…
Healing the results of the ecologically corrupt…

Hidden in the forest I tend to feel peace…
Create my art in a naturally made place…
Away from your eyes… Far from your space…
Created for a photo… I leave no trace…

peace – chriscondello

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Trees Will Fall

treeIf a tree falls in the woods…
And no ones around to hear it…
I hear it… I feel it…
I understand…

A tree is built to eventually fall…
Marvel as it crashes to the ground…
Awakens the soil…
replenish the soil… Alive…

Fallen trees melt into the forest floor…
Replenish the cycles of life…
Destroys homes…
And creates them… Simultaneously…

Homes built with the skeletons of trees…
Designed by flesh and bones…
We are both alive…
We will survive… We will thrive…

Together…

peace – chriscondello

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The True Yield Of Trees

The other day I was having a conversation with some new friends at one of the great Wilkinsburg community gardens, the topic of the conversation was yield. You see… Community gardens are often plots of land with very few perennials, shrubs or trees… Recently some of the community gardens in my area have begun planting fruit trees. The issue we are running into is the fact that people want to plant things that will produce food “NOW”, they don’t want to wait 3 or 4 years, most of the time they don’t even know if they will still be living in the neighborhood in 4 years. Some grants will even specify the size of the trees that can be purchased and planted using their money, the idea is to get trees planted that are as close to fruiting as humanly possible… Once again we are being told to plant something for the sole aspect of creating food quickly, and the trees wants and needs are completely overlooked…

Physical

Obviously people expect a fruit tree to yield, well… fruit. Because of this the other qualities of the tree are overlooked, trees also produce wood for fuel and building materials. The leaves create a protective mulch in winter, and in the spring break down into nutrients that are not only taken back up by the tree, but also benefit all of the plants in the general vicinity. Trees with deep root systems have the ability to mine nutrients that would otherwise be too deep to benefit shallow surface roots, these nutrients are then released into the soil surface when the leaves fall and break down… kind of give a little, get a little system that continuously repeats itself until the tree dies… starting another life system…

A single tree has the ability to create a micro climate, many trees have the power to change climates. Once you travel in from the coast, forests comprise the majority of the surface water available, inland rainfall contains no traces of the ocean… It’s actually composed mainly of water from the trees… A forest can be thought of like a giant inland lake… Because of this trees, especially forests, can increase rainfall by as much as 40%.

Trees also filter dust and pollutants from the air, the simple act of a tree slowing the speed of the wind down is enough to allow it to deposit the heavier sediments it is carrying. Often at the edge of a forest you will find highly fertile small mounds located a few feet inside the tree line, this is a direct result of the wind being slowed down by the trees and depositing its payload. It is partly because of this phenomenon, trees on the edge of a forest are taller and stronger than the trees located within.

Mental

I can honestly say without a doubt, I have learned something before, during or after every tree I have ever planted. The simple act of planting a tree is an educational opportunity spanning all aspects of modern academia, everything I really needed to know in life, I learned while planting trees. Think about it for a second… Math, literature, science, history, they all relate to planting trees in one form or another. If you are reading a book to your class and a specific type of tree is planted, plant that type of tree (whenever possible) and I promise your class will never forget it.

Spiritual

Trees lift people’s spirits, an old tree can bring back fond memories of the past. I find planting a tree to be a highly spiritual act, it takes a bit of faith to plant something to benefit future generations… not just yourself. In my own personal “tree planting” experiences, I have noticed that when I am in good spirits, the tree or plant tends to do better. But when I am not feeling good, the trees and plants that I plant do not do nearly as good as they would have had I been in good spirit.

In my neighborhood when we plant perennials or trees it becomes a neighborhood event, people come out of their houses with their chairs and we all get together and garden. I can’t begin to tell you how much of a spirit lifter this activity is for the whole neighborhood, not only do we get a physical and mental yield, we also get a spiritual yield that most people don’t get to see, many of the yields I am speaking about may not be apparent at the immediate time of planting, consider them long-term yields… I still have people come up to me and tell me how good it makes them feel to walk past a garden or tree that we planted as a neighborhood… after hearing comments like this more times than I can count, the spiritual aspect of tree planting has become my current primary focus, with food closely behind it. My “focus” has a tendency to evolve over time, I like to embrace the evolution.

I used to consider myself a “food farmer” exclusively, when I built an urban farm all I was interested in was food. I was only interested in the physical yields that my plants could produce, it wasn’t until years later that I began to spiritually feel the power that a tree or plant can yield. I would like to see all gardeners recognize the true yield potential of a plant or tree, to look beyond the physical and begin looking at the meta-physical yields. We have a unique opportunity as gardeners to sculpt and shape the landscapes of our future, we are after all, installation artists.

Although I am a gardener and farmer, I am also an artist… the land is my canvas and plants and trees are my medium. I do not just create my artwork for the physical yield I receive, I do it for the mental and spiritual yield I receive from it… and that is one of the things that will set me apart from the rest… one day at least… I hope… being a starving artist is not easy… well I guess I can’t say “starving” artist!

If there’s a new way… I’ll be the first in line… But it better work this time… – Dave Mustaine

everything i really needed to know in life, i learned while planting trees – chriscondello

Originally posted to www.transitionpgh.org

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