Thursday, January 19, 2012


Let's take a break from the cold and the snow and take a look back to a sunny day about a week ago.  On a walk through Cates Park, I came across this dancing tree stump.

Is it just me, or does this look like a female figure? 

I may be barking up the wrong tree or even barking mad, but I really think there is something quite magical, perhaps even mystical about this Formerly Known as Tree creature.

Look at her markings, as distinct as tattoos;

and her character lines, wrinkles and bumps that skin is prone to as it ages;

look how she grips the ground with her knobby toes.

But most mystifying of all is what must be her navel.

If we flip the image on its side, a most mysterious creature appears...

It has the look of a cave drawing: "primitive" art.
Certainly an animal. But which?
A wild boar, perhaps (though there are none in these parts);
or maybe a porcupine, judging by the quills.
Do you see it?
Or do you see something else altogether?

While you ponder this, why don't you climb up into the lifeguard's chair and sit awhile.

As the sun begins to set,

 tell me if you don't feel something a little mystical in the air. 

PS. As I look at the first image of the "navel" this morning, I see a bearded unicorn, viewed from above,galloping down a road, mane flying in the wind as it looks over its left shoulder. How many others see this, I wonder...


  1. It is fascinating what we see if we take the time to look. And this interesting tree has been stripped down to essentials - really is just a trunk, so it's even easier to focus.

    Yes, it looks to me like a creature in a sweeping robe. Not sure if it is a woman.

    The sideways animal is amazing. A wild pig, for sure.

    This is a nice post. Thanks for a magical start to the day :)

  2. Jenny,
    You're just starting your day as I'm about to head off to bed! It's miraculous how there is no time or space in the blog world. What a treat to receive a bedtime message, acknowledging my efforts and confirming my visions. I will look again at the tree trunk now to find if I can see the sweeping robe. It's so true what you say about taking the time to see: I had passed that tree stump many times before, without really noticing it as I rushed through the park, but that day I was lingering and looking. Thank you for taking a few moments to linger here.

  3. A North Vancouver Venus with a navel interest - maybe she awaits a sailor.

  4. Oh, someone else who shares a love for nature and the remarkable artistry found within a tree! Wonderful photos that spark the imagination - I love it! Please post more!

  5. aaah makes me want to leave work and go to the beach, but it's too cold and it's gonna snow! Toronto is getting a little taste of winter today!

  6. I love this post! Your dancing tree at golden hour is truly magical! So glad you were stumped, louciao.

  7. Ahh another wonderful post. I'm going to go out on a limb, here and say that it's one of your best. This tree reminds me of one at my local park.. I post images of it, often. I do see all that you do in its form and its skin. I also see a few angry facial profiles if you think outside of the navel.. in the surrounding milky bark.

  8. Fine light, textures and details. I've been in Cates Park recently but, as usual, probably just walked by the stump.

  9. Once i saw an alike tree in Istanbul, Turkey.

    Thank you very much for the memories and this great entry of yours !

    Loved the journey into details. Please have you all a good Friday.

  10. Wow - Love your "Dancing Woman Tree." On the vertical shot of the "navel" I see an Armadillo with a long tail. Now there's a projection for you! :) Sideways I see a wild boar. And I love the shot of the feet - exposing a softness/smoothness...

    You are so imaginative! I love this! I love the sense of play that you "bring to life." Thanks for the invitation to play in your sandbox.:)

  11. Stark, bark, raving, just the way we like you, from sawdust to stardust, and everything in between, from the roots to reaching for the sky, you catch the wild spirits of the wood, pigs and dryads and nymphs and more, but where did the bark go ? And who lopped off such large limbs, leaving just a stump to stump us ? And were there any raccoons living it it ? I think there must be a few, even a colony... So, will you be turning it into a totem soon ? I think you should...

  12. DCW,
    I think you're right, she was once Venus in Firs.

    Trees are magnificent beings, indeed. I have a lot of tree pix that I've taken over the years in Cates Park, but posting them all would result in not being able to see the forest for the trees. Those files are in my computer back in the maritimes. Gee, guess I'll just have to make some more! Once the weather gets a little (and by "a little" I mean "a lot") more cooperative.

    I think any day at work would make you want to leave and go to the beach! Though probably a lot less so in the winter. Too cold here, as well, to head to the beach, or even the park. Brrrrrr! I'm waiting for the rain to come back.

    And I'm happy that you stirred your stumps and mosied over to share this golden moment!

    Trust you to think outside of the bark and not get lost in navel gazing! I saw the faces, too, but didn't want to mention them in case anyone think I'm crazy!

    Fancy meeting you here on my old stumping grounds. One of these days we might actually turn up at the same place at the same time.

    God is in the details, if she's anywhere at all. I feel certain that the tree you saw was a Turkish Delight!

    Mystic Meandering Christine,
    Yes, I see the armadillo! Good spotting. I do like playing in my sandbox, but it's so much more fun to have friends come over and join me. Would you like to use my red shovel?

    It is a totem, complete unto herself. No need for me to do anything further; though...hmmm...a little superimposing of a native carving, or maybe even a coon-tailed hat wouldn't be too over the top. Hey, you remember that bear that was in the driveway here awhile ago? Well, it turned up in downtown Vancouver in the back of a garbage truck a few days later! (I forgot to tell you). We're pretty certain it was "our" bear as the truck had been doing the rounds in N.Van., as had the bear.

    As for what happened to the tree's limbs, I guess they're just sawdust memories to her now. I was afraid to ask her outright, though, because she's all bite and no bark.

  13. What a fantastic blog you have!!
    I am your newest blog -follower.

    Greetings from Gunn.

  14. Sure! And I'll bring my pail... LOL

  15. Gunn,
    Thank you so much! Very happy to have you on board,and to meet a blogger from Norway.

    Mystic Meandering,
    And sandwiches?

  16. Ooooo - a picnic! Oh boy! :) Maybe we could find a young life guard with abs to fill that chair... :)

  17. i also love to see images in stones, clouds, whatever... and the creature in the tree to me looks like a fighting bull (90° angle, of course;)

  18. Have you been at those mushrooms again? Or did I leave a jug of margaritas unguarded??
    Seriously, this tree is fab. I found her sister on a beach near my mum's afew years ago...and I think I blogged it too.

  19. Mystic Meandering,
    Might be a tetch cold for a lifeguard.

    A bull! I see that you are, indeed, practised at the art of perception.

    Well, North Vancouver lawns are a well-known source for a certain variety of mushroom. However, tis not the season. I think your tree and my tree may have been siblings separated at birth...seeds dropped by migrating birds, perhaps. Rather like you and Owen and myself.

  20. a spectacular tree, yes a feminine energy to it, and I saw a pig when the 'belly button' was on its side

  21. Louciao, how I love your creativity and imagination! Just the other day I was walking with Roxy and admiring how we can find so many unusual shapes in nature. However, I think you have to really observe and not just look. Lovely photos and post! :)

  22. creative flowing juices... What do I see? On that last one, I see the eye of the tree, almost blinking back at me.

    fabulous per usual!


  23. Shayla,
    Feminine energy and porcine power, all in a tree stump. Who would have thought? Magic is in the air all around us.

    So true, that observing and looking are two different ways of seeing. Observing can be passive while looking can be active. It's taking the time to really "see"...or of expanding one's usual way of seeing. Perhaps it's a question of really being present, and not just passing through.

    Thank you so much! Lovely to see your smiling face here, and to have seen it beaming out from a certain blog from Paris in recent days.

  24. this one must be one of the most fascinating trees i have ever seen (or is your gaze that makes it so? your attention to each small yet magical detail?). i could certainly see all the fairy tale animals in that 'navel', but i would settle for the unicorn as well.

    from a romanian poet, Nichita Stanescu:

    He offered me a leaf like a hand with fingers.
    I offered him a hand like a leaf with teeth.
    He offered me a branch like an arm.
    I offered him my arm like a branch.
    He tipped his trunk towards me
    like a shoulder.
    I tipped my shoulder to him
    like a knotted trunk.
    I could hear his sap quicken, beating
    like blood.
    He could hear my blood slacken like rising sap.
    I passed through him.
    He passed through me.
    I remained a solitary tree.
    a solitary man.

  25. Roxana,
    Like Wayne before me (another blogger in Vancouver, whom I've never met) I must have passed that tree hundreds of times without really noticing it. Or if I did, it was only to wonder why on earth they'd left such an ugly vestige of a tree standing there. But this day, perhaps because of the way the sun was shining on it, or perhaps because of my mood, I saw the truly magical beauty of that tree.

    Thank you for sharing that poem. I believe I understand it quite well, which is not always the way with poetry and me. Aside from the understanding,and really in contrast to it, the imagery brings to mind those trees that grow so close together that their trunks eventually join as one. Solitary in their unity, perhaps.