What is the Importance of a Tree?

A few days ago, when I went to the Light Center because I was ill, I was thinking about the mountains. The trees were soaring over head and the air was so clean and fresh. I thought about how amazing it must have been to have traveled here 100-200 years ago. I was looking at the trees and wondering how long they had been there. Below are some of the pictures I took.

Veterans of Foreign Wars asked the government to set aside a fitting stand of trees to the memory of Joyce Kilmer. Kilmer was both a WWI soldier and a poet.  He is remembered most for his nature poetry and his poem “Trees.”




I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet

flowing breast.


A tree that looks at God all day

And lifts her leafy arms to pray.

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair.


Upon whose bosom snow has lain.

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

—Joyce Kilmer




Evergreens. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2014

Evergreens. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2014

“Let my mind bear sweet fruit and

fragrant flowers,

as this tree is planted of the soil of Thy spirit.

—with branches downwards:


I see Thy hand

blessing me

—-rising upwards.


in the night:

My heart stands in waiting and hope

as the trees stand through the darkness of night.”

—Hazrat Inayat Khan



The trees give us clean air and shade in the summer. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

The trees give us clean air and shade in the summer. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016


“How wonderful, O Lord, are the works of your hands!

The heavens declare Your glory,

the arch of sky display Your handiwork

In Your love You have given us the power

to behold the beauty of Your world

robed in all its splendor

The sun and the stars, the valleys and hills,

the rivers and lakes all disclose Your presence.

The roaring breakers of the sea tell of Your awesome Might,

the beasts of the field and the bird of the air

bespeak Your wondrous will.

In Your goodness You have made us able to hear

the music of the world. The voices of loved ones

reveal to us that You are in our midst.

A divine voice sings through all creation.”

—Jewish Prayer



The tree seem to scrape the sky

The trees seem to scrape the sky. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

Dear Future Generations


Oh God of all, at this time of our gradual awakening to the dangers we are imposing on our beautiful Earth, open the hearts and minds of all your children, that we may learn to nurture rather than destroy our planet. Amen.

                                                        —Lorraine R. Schmitz








They become more beautiful with the years, wizened, bent but not broken.

Trees become more beautiful with the years, wizened, bent but not broken.


“Let there be peace, welfare and righteousness

in every part of the world.


Let confidence and friendship prevail

for the good of east and west

for the good of the needy south

for the good of all humanity.


Let the people inspire their leaders

helping them to seek peace by peaceful means

helping them and urging them

to build a better world

a world with a home for everybody

a world with food and work for everybody

a world with spiritual freedom

for everybody.


Let those who have the power of money

be motivated by selfless compassion.

Let money become a tool

for the good of mankind.


Let those who have power

deal respectfully with the resources of the planet.

Let them respect and maintain

the purity of the air, water, land and subsoil.

Let them co-operate to restore

the ecological soundness of Mother Earth.


Let trees grow up by the billions

around the world.

Let green life invade the deserts.


Let industry serve humanity

and produce waste that serves nature.


Let technology respect

the holiness of Mother Earth.


Let those who control the mass media

contribute to create mutual understanding

contribute to create optimism and confidence.


Let ordinary people

Meet by the millions across the borders.

Let them create a universal network of love and friendship.


Let billions of human beings

co-0perate to create a good future

for their children and grandchildren.


Let us survive

In peace and harmony with Mother Earth.”

                     —Hagen Hasselbalch


Because we, Americans are in an election cycle, we must consider all the things that a President will have influence over or control over. War or peace. Jobs or homelessness. Green spaces around our cities breathing air we desperately need or going outside with masks over our noses and mouths. This person will have a do it my way or the highway attitude or will exhibit compassion and gentleness for the peoples who are refugees around the world. This person will enforce the precepts that our Founding Fathers formed this “great experiment” upon or they will trod all over the rights and acts which our nation was founded upon. We will have free speech or we will become a totalitarian government. We will do as we are told or we will have another Civil War.

Whomever is elected will be watched. Not just by “We the people” but by history. History will tell the truth. It may not be what is taught in our schools in the next couple of generations but the truth is what history will demonstrate in the long haul. Fellow Americans, I ask only two things during this election cycle. First, get out and vote. It is a right and it is a responsibility. If your candidate is not still in the running, vote for whomever is going to be the best or do the least damage to America. You still have choices. I, myself, have voted for the other party when the candidate my party put forth wasn’t the best choice. Second, don’t be afraid to vote for the candidate who beats their competitor. To be blunt, if you are for Sanders, and Hillary is the nominee, don’t vote for Trump in your anger. If the FBI really had all the evidence against Hillary they say they have, she would have been arrested by now. She has not been. If you think money has bought her freedom, then surely money bought Trump his victories. Which candidate will save our trees, water, stop fracking, clean up the air, stop dumping waste into our rivers and lakes and into our oceans and seas. Do you know we are about to lose our Great Barrier Reef? It is true.




A recently released report revealed a heart wrenching discovery about Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies found that at least 93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef suffers from coral bleaching.

The bleaching phenomenon occurs when corals are stressed by high water temperatures or other causes. Severe bleaching could lead to the death of corals.

The task force surveyed 911 coral reefs by air and the accuracy of the researchers initial aerial surveys have been confirmed by scientific divers who are continuing to measure the impact of the bleaching. Dive teams have already discovered about 50 percent coral death.

“We have now flown over 911 individual reefs in a helicopter and light plane, to map out the extent and severity of bleaching along the full 2300 km length of the Great Barrier Reef. Of all the reefs we surveyed, only 7% (68 reefs) have escaped bleaching entirely. At the other end of the spectrum, between 60 and 100% of corals are severely bleached on 316 reefs, nearly all in the northern half of the Reef,” Professor Terry Hughes, head of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University said in a statement.

Hughes tweeted a map showing the results of the bleaching that hit the northern parts of the reef hardest:

See image of the Great Barrier Reef below:








Our trees have stood over us, protecting us for hundreds of generations.

Our trees have stood over us, protecting us for hundreds of generations.

Cathedrals of Eternity

Galstonbury Tor, Sacred Spiral Hill

Galstonbury Tor, Sacred Spiral Hill

The nature of sacred places is comparable to the nature of the divine in that nothing is unrelated to them. Our life’s destination is not a place, but a new way of looking at things.

Sacred places are perceptions of reality

Sacred places are not locations but events where all time is eternal time

Sacred places are sites for remembering

Sacred places are renewed crucibles of consciousness

Sacred places are an encyclopedia of self-knowledge

Sacred places are time capsules from ourselves to ourselves

Sacred places are portals to eternity

Sacred places are a geography of the imagination

Sacred places are centers of the sacred and profane

Sacred places are realms of things to come.


“River banks lined with

green willows, fragrant


A place not sacred?


——-Sayings of the Masters


“I’m too religious to believe in religion. You don’t have to believe in a sacred world. It slaps you in the face. It is everywhere.”

                      —-an eighty year old Hungarian friend to Gretel Ehrlich, poet and novelist


“We all move on the fringes of eternity and are sometimes granted vistas through the fabric of illusion.”

                        —Ansel Adams, photographer


“To acquire the awareness of the Divine, one need not journey to any special region or place. It is enough if the eye is turned inwards. I the Bhagavadgita, the Inner Reality, the Atma, is described as “splendorous like a billion suns.” But man has not become aware of the light or power within.”

—Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Indian avatar


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“We have seen, you and I, the laughing sirens of the trees.

We have been fortunate because, it is said, they are rarely seen, if ever, that they never venture beyond the forest of pine and cedar but stay in the shadows of the thicket of the wood. It is said that these women you have seen cannot think for themselves, that their minds are not their own. It is said, that the women you have seen before your eyes go through life with no intent but to frolic, to make merry and to laugh. It is said that the young who fall and are seduced into their camp return not unto their own but stay with the creatures who think not and cannot reason to know what is good and what is evil. It is said that if in your ramblings you hear this laughter in the wood behind a tree, tarry not, but turn and go the other way. It is said that this is difficult to do when one is young.

—-Laughter Behind the Trees, from the                                                                                                    Tloo-Qwah-nah Ceremony, told by George Clutesi, Nootka writer and artist.



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“Here, my brothers, are the roots of trees, here are empty places; Meditate.”

—Ancient Buddhist Philosopher


Tree Awakening

Tree Awakening

“There is in India a tree whose property it is to plant itself. It spreads out mighty 

arms to the earth, where in the space of a single year the arms take root and put

forth anew.”       —Pliny (A.D. 70), on the wondrous Banyan tree


  Rainbow over the French Broad River, Arden, NC

  Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2016


“Stones, plants, animals, the earth, the sky, the stars, the elements, in fact everything

in the universe reveals to us the knowledge, power and the will of the Originator.”

—Abu Hamid Muhammad Al-Ghazzali, Persian                                                                               mystic, 1058-1111.


Old Man of the Hoh

Old Man of the Hoh

A Saturday Adventure

Hello everyone. I thought I would tell you and show you about our adventure. On Saturday, Maggie, my sister and myself started out on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was fascinating. Though still summer, there are many hues of green on the trees and shrubs. It was truly amazing. We went to the Folk Art Center, where local artists sell their wares and are often available to talk. Next we drove on to Black Mountain, where Maggie used to live. We had lunch with all the other tourists and took my sister to the old general store. They carry so many items. It is a huge building and it is full. Maggie hauled me over to a display of walking sticks.


Now I have my decade old cane which has a wizard carved into it. I keep refusing to get other sticks, but they both were hounding me and I did find one I like. They Amy found a matching one. They are from the Great Smokies and have bear prints on them. Amy told me they would be great for “off roading.” In other words, when they get me to leave solid ground for a trail. These beauties were the least expensive I have seen anywhere. So they came home with us.


I thought I would share some of my photographs from the day, with you.

Namaste, Barbara



  Really cool cloud formations as twilight begins to come upon us.

                            Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2015





   The mountains here are literally layer upon layer. There is a book published that                                   gives all the names of the mountains. It is a fairly thick book. Photograph and                                      copyright by Barbara Mattio 2015





 The clouds here are amazing. Photograph and copyright by

                               Barbara Mattio 2015



A predictor of autumn? Some leaves are turning colors. Photograph                                and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2015



DSC_0614                                    Blue Ridge Mountains. Photograph and copyright by

                                  Barbara  Mattio 2015




 Thin needle evergreen. Photograph and copyright by Barbara                                          Mattio 2015


  Maggie and Amy on our excursion.

                                                 Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2015



Off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2015

Off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2015

Today We Thank Mother Earth

“Lord, the air smells good today, straight from the mysteries

within the inner courts of God.

A grace like new clothes thrown

across the garden, free medicine for everybody.

The trees in their prayer, the birds in praise,

the first blue violets kneeling.

Whatever came from Being is caught up in being,

drunkenly forgetting the way back.”




Zinnias grown, photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Zinnias grown, photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014



The beauty of the earth is everywhere, mankind has not destroyed what we have been given. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2015

The beauty of the earth is everywhere, mankind has not destroyed what we have been given. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2015



“too much industry

too much eats

too much beer

too many cigarettes


Too much philosophy

too many thought forms

not enough rooms—

not enough trees


Too much Police

too much computers

to much hi fi

too much Pork


Too much coffee

too much smoking

under slate grey roofs

Too much obedience


Too many bellies

Too many business suits

Too much paperwork

too many magazines


Too much industry

No fish in the Rhine

Lorelei poisoned

Too much embarrassment.


Too many fatigued

workers on the train

Ghost Jews scream

on the street corner


Too much old murder

too much white torture

Too much one Stammheim

too many happy Nazis.


Too many crazy students

Not enough farms

not enough Appletrees

Not enough nut trees


Too much money

Too many poor

turks without vote

“Guests” do the work


Too much metal

Too much fat

Too many jokes

not enough meditation.”


—Allen Ginsberg, twentieth century Beats poet



The skies are filled with the beauty of Mother Earth. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2015

The skies are filled with the beauty of Mother Earth. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2015


May we all remember to thank Mother Earth for what we have been given. May we ask forgiveness for what we have destroyed. May we do restitution to our planet to undo what we have destroyed. May our words, prayers and actions make a difference.

Female lion on watch. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2015

Female lion on watch. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2015

My Dream

I have a dream, a dream of peace. My dream is a world without borders between countries. Mother Earth would be one endless landscape where all are welcome and appreciated. My world would have new priorities. People would see themselves in others and therefore would not work to hurt or disparage others.


Resources would be willingly shared with all no matter what they look like or who they love. I dream that the homo sapiens would face challenges in our world together. No one looking to be more or have more than other people.


I dream of a world where communities are not deliberately fragmented. No one must do without because it is inconceivable not to share. It matters to each of us that we all have what we need to thrive and enjoy success.


As I watched the mountains turn a little more green each day, I was mesmerized by all the shades of green and the light. It shimmered and shined across the mountains. The peacefulness was healing and inspiring. Each day, a different kind of tree began to bloom. From the bottom of my heart, I was filled with gratitude for being able to watch life come out of its long winter sleep. There were many people around me who were sharing the same experience. A smile here, a nod there and we knew that we were filled with gratitude and love for our planet.


Mother Earth was a gift given to humans from the Universe. Each blade of grass, each leaf on trees and shrubs, each floral scent carried on the wind is a boon for our lives. Life is precious and it is found everywhere. We are charged to take care of each other and what we have been given. It is up to us to love and care for everyone. It is up to us to care for everything in our world. We need to be responsible.


“Gratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day—

and to her soil: rich, rare, and sweet

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing light-changing leaf

and fine root-hairs; standing still through the wind

and rain; their dance is in the flowing spiral grain

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and the silent

Owl at dawn. Breath of our song

clear spirit breeze

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to Wild Beings, our brothers and sisters, teaching secrets,

freedoms, and ways; who share with us their milk,

self-complete, brave and aware

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to Water; clouds, lakes, rivers, glaciers,

holding or releasing, streaming through all

our bodies salty seas

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to the Sun, blinding pulsing light through

trunks of trees, through mists, warming caves where

bears and snakes sleep-he who wakes us-

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to the Great Sky

who holds billions of stars–and goes yet beyond that-

beyond all powers, and thoughts

and yet is within us-

Grandfather Space. The Mind is his Wife.

so be it.

—Gary Snyder (after a Mohawk prayer)






Mountain stream Photographed and copyrighted 2015

Mountain stream
Photographed and copyrighted 2015



Blue Ridge Mountains Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2015

Blue Ridge Mountains
Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2015