Friday, September 17, 2010

FAMILY TREE -- Weeping Willow Tree

[PHOTO SOURCE: My photo, my camera, Weeping Willow Tree, Kilaga Springs, California]:



This is a Short Intro for the digital photo above that I took at Kilaga Springs, Lincoln, CA.  It displays a WEEPING WILLOW TREE at sunrise with the sun just peeking over the horizon and through the boughs of the tree.
The Willow tree has been a special tree to me.  I have used it in my TARR FAMILY TREE (FamilyAlbum2010) on ANCESTRY to denote my direct male lineage.  (The female direct lineage is denoted by using the shadow portrait of my BELOVED daughter Rebecca Lynne Shoudy Richey.)

I love being a part of the history of this land – Mother Earth.  I love that my Family were here before me, and will be here after me.  While doing the genealogy research on my Family Tree, I have made some unexpected and exciting discoveries.
The Family has uprooted, moved across oceans and continents, and suffered losses and setbacks.  However, throughout it all, they have persevered to find new places to set down roots and grow strong.  The many Branches of the Family have spread across Europe and the Americas.

The many Family Members have been affected by political, economic, religious and health events during their particular passage of life on this land.  Likewise, the Family has left their "stamp" on this land and the people of the land.

The Family for the most part has been in occupations "close" to the land and many owned their own land.  There were a few of the Family that prospered monetarily and could be considered "wealthy".  However, for the most part, the Family have been low to middle income and worked hard for their "daily fare".  There were many Family Members with artistic abilities and talents, especially in writing, drawing, painting, sculpture, song, music, craftsmanship, speaking the word of GOD (the various ministers and such), and home arts (the various sewing, knitting, quilting, cooking skills, and the like).

But, most especially, there was the ability to LOVE and NURTURE and HONOR their Family and Friends and Neighbors.

I feel very honored to be a part of this FAMILY TREE, and the WEEPING WILLOW TREE seems to me to be the PERFECT symbol of our FAMILY.

(You can use GOOGLE search to find more info on the Willow Tree.)

SOME Historical and interesting notes on the Weeping Willow Tree:

In Literature:

Hans Christian Andersen wrote a story called "Under the Willow Tree" (1853) in which children ask questions of a tree they called "willow-father", paired with another entity called "elder-mother".  In J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, there is an old tree on the school grounds of "Hogwarts" called the "Whomping Willow".


The roots are remarkable for their toughness, size, and tenacity to life, and roots readily grow from aerial parts of the plant.  Almost all willows take root very readily from cuttings or where broken branches lie on the ground.  The willow seeds are furnished with long, silky, white hairs, which allow the fruit to be widely dispersed by the wind.

In Medicine:

The leaves and bark of the willow tree have been mentioned in ancient texts from Assyria, Sumer, and Egypt as a remedy for aches and fever, and the Ancient Greek Hippocrates wrote about its medicinal properties in the 5th century BC.  Native Americans across the American continent relied on it as a staple of their medical treatments.  This is because it contains salicylic acid, the precursor to aspirin.

In Religion:

In religion, willow is one of the "Four Species" used in a ceremony on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.  In Buddhism, a willow branch is one of the chief attributes of Kwan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion.  Willow is also one of the "nine sacred trees" mentioned in Wicca and witchcraft, with several magical uses.  In the Wiccan Rede, it is described as growing by water, guiding the dead to "The Summerland", a commonly used term in Wicca to refer to the afterlife.  Christian churches in northwestern Europe often used willow branches in place of palms in the ceremonies on Palm Sunday.


Almost all willows take root very readily from cuttings or where broken branches lie on the ground.  There are a few exceptions, including the Goat Willow (Salix caprea)) and Peachleaf Willow (Salix amygdaloides).  One famous example of such growth from cuttings involves the poet Alexander Pope, who begged a twig from a parcel tied with twigs sent from Spain to Lady Suffolk.  This twig was planted and thrived, and legend has it that all of England's weeping willows are descended from this first one.  I, myself, HAVE ALSO HEARD THE STORY of a walking-cane that was pushed into the ground, and a year later was 10 feet tall !!!


There is also mention of the WILLOW in poetry, art, photography, and manufacturing of products, forestry, and ecology.  Everyone remembers the Weeping Willow mentioned in many poems, songs, and stories because of its grace and beauty.  The Weeping Willow's grace comes from its sweeping, low branches that droop to create its familiar “falling” canopy.  A favorite among tree lovers for its dramatic appearance and rounded, weeping shape.  It is an excellent shade tree that is always in high demand.  This willow is one of the fastest growing shade trees, growing up to 10 ft. a year and reach 35 feet in diameter at maturity.  It thrives in Growing Zones 4-9, and has the ability to absorb standing water.  Plant it near trouble spots where water stands in puddles, and watch them disappear.  Even though Weeping Willows are often found near rivers, lakes and wetlands, they can grow just about anywhere, even demonstrating some tolerance to drought.  The willow is very adaptable to all kinds of soils and growing conditions, these trees can even help prevent soil erosion.


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