Stories told in trees

Last weekend ‘Omstilling Sagene’, which may be the first Transition group in Norway arranged a course. The theme was storytelling and trees. After we had sung we sat down and they all said why they were there. One woman said when she was little she used to cry if a tree got hurt. She went out and tied wool round trees due to be cut down, hoping to save them. Someone else had been to a performance in a tree house. They thought the tree would be damaged so they put a wire round the branches to support it. But instead of being pulled down the tree lifted up its branches even higher. It turns out that trees get stronger roots when they’re blown by the wind and someone said the same is true for us. Someone said he had heard of a man who had threatened to burn a tree and then measured that the tree sent out water to protect its leaves. Someone else had played in a forest which had then been cut to the ground. Since that time they felt betrayed by trees and scared of forests. Another was an artist but found trees almost impossible to paint, she was also allergic. Everyone, it seemed, had some kind of attitude including the woman who had been born in the far North where trees don’t grow and said she couldn’t care less about them but had just come for the storytelling.
Everyone got a written story about a tree and without going into all the details we worked with those stories pretty much the whole weekend.

tree story collage tree story collage OJ Tree telling

We told stories to trees (in pairs so as not to look mad to passers by).

We ate trees, everyone brought food which came from trees.

We became trees at least we imagined becoming trees.

We sensed our roots and we listened to stories of people appearing out of trees or being helped by trees. Everyone told beautifully. The woman who said she didn’t care about trees said she realised she did care about trees and she would never deny this again.

The story of Evolution..

The world was covered in slime for about 2.6 billion years, and out of that slime tiny one-celled organisms were created. Then it only took one billion years for those one celled organisms to join together to develop into bacteria, then fish, trees and dogs, us.  This shows that  fundamentally the trees are our great grandfathers and grandmothers, we are distant relatives of trees with common ancestors of bacteria and small one celled beings.

And it makes sense, why else would we be so very like trees?

We all come from seeds. We humans are covered in a layer of skin. The tree is covered in a skin of bark. We have blood and the tree has blood called sap. We have a trunk the tree has a trunk. On the top of our head is a crown, the crown of the tree is high up in the air. Beside our heart are two lungs, they look like small trees. When we breathe out the tree breathes in and when the tree breathes out we breathe in. 

By the way there is a week this summer telling stories and singing in Transylvania, Roumania  – see Forestgarden

tree telling tiril CU(2)


Multi-language storytelling, videos, and telling outside

Geo and Mohi fruit
Here is Mohi, we are telling in two languages, Somalian and Norwegian. This guy is a find! He knows more about Somalian stories than any of the five or six somalians I have worked with the last years. They seem to have two main characters, the terrifying cannibal witch Dhegdheer, and the absurdly lazy Egal Shidal. To hear the witch story with a fantastic cartoon made by kids check Dhegdheer. There its being told by a talented Somalian slam poet Jamal.

My plate is piling up with stories. Fat ones, thin ones and tall gangling ones with leaves on. For more about this see my new website. Not completely finished but what website ever is?