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Stockholm Trees

Practicing with a Weeping Beech

Despite my plan to stick to the trees I am currently meeting more or less regularly until the end of the year (the ginkgo in Stockholm, the birch on Harakka Island and the two pines on Örö) I decided to initiate one more relationship to a tree in Stockholm in order to practice the tree posture in T’ai Chi Chuan, which I learned while participating in a symposium on temporality in artistic research Grenoble. Walking in Humlegården on Halloween looking for possible partners – I wanted the tree to grow nearby – I immediately fell for the huge ”hängbok” or weeping beech, a cultivar of the ordinary beech, which I well remembered from previous strolls. Now, its leaves all reddish brown, letting some light in under its tent-like canopy, it seemed much more approachable than before, when its dark green leaves formed an almost impenetrable dark hut. I took a few snapshots with my phone and decided to return the following day and begin practicing the tree pose with it on the first of November. And that I did, carrying my camera on tripod to the park as soon as I had posed with the ginkgo. With the beech I would not reach upwards towards the sky, on my toes, with the support of the slender trunk in front of me, but try to ground myself and search for power, energy and stability standing with bent knees and reaching with my arms towards the huge trunk in front of me. And in terms of the image, I would not try to show the tree in full or at least as much as possible of it, but rather come closer and let the tree fill most of the image space. Rather than posing with my back to the camera, as an almost unnoticable figure among all bikes and passers-by, I was now posing in profile next to the tree, facing it as an ‘equal’, although tiny, of course, compared to its impressive body. Whether I will keep practicing daily for one week or as often as possible for one month, or irregularly until the end of the year remains to be seen. I will document my power practice with the weeping beech in still images, here, as usual. Now, after only two meetings, I am curious and enthusiastic about this new exercise and my new tree acquaintance.

By Annette Arlander

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