Preserving a Civil Society
“In an age when man’s hand is tireless in despoilng nature, it is no small comfort to find that there is still a minority who thinks, as R.L. Stevenson always thought, that “trees are the most civil society.” [J.W.R.T. 1935]
The Men of the Trees, a voluntary society founded by Richard St. Barbe Baker has an aim to develop a tree sense in every citizen, and “to encourage all to plant, protect and love trees everywhere.” This worldwide society, Men of the Trees also gave rise to another organisation, The International Tree Foundation In 1992 Men of the Trees became the International Tree Foundation (ITF).
“The time has come for our women, the creative element, to take their part in guiding nations. We of the Men of the Trees would welcome women volunteers from every part of the UK to form local branches. If women would like to Change Men of the Trees to Friends of the Trees, as founding member, I would welcome it”.~Richard St. Barbe Baker in 1959 Trees Journal (ITF 2016)
Initiatives of the organisation included prizes offered for communities planting trees, and also to schools for the best tree plantings. Schools and communities are encouraged to plant trees in honour of notable persons, and in honour of arbor day. Photographic exhibitions, excursions, lantern lectures, competitions, meetings, and parties are all a part of the society agenda. Silvicultural advice is freely given, and publications, the “Tree Journal” and an annual Tree Calendar is published.
Richard St. Barbe Baker is quoted from the inaugural Tree Journal; “In our work of preservation we have endeavoured to keep a balance between the purely sentimental on the one hand and the material and economic on the other, and have shown there need be no conflict between the useful and the beautiful. Above all, the society has endeavoured to emphasize the importance of planting for those who will come after us”.(ITF 2016)
“Indeed, nothing that will assist in the attainment of its objectives is willingly left undone. First and last, the Men of the Trees are bent upon fulfilling the truth of Francis Thompson’s noble words: “Thou can’st not stir a flower without troubling of a star.” [J.W.R.T. 1935]
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
EXPANDING UPON THE QUOTATIONS:
I wish our way had always lain among woods. Trees are the most civil society. An old oak that has been growing where he stands since before the Reformation, taller than many spires, more stately than the greater part of mountains, and yet a living thing, liable to sickness, and death, like you and me: it is not that in itself a speaking lesson in history? But acres on acres full of such patriarchs contiguously rooted, their green tops billowing in the wind, their stalwart younglings pushing up about their knees: a whole forest, healthy and beautiful, giving colour to the light, giving perfume to the air: what is this but the most imposing piece in nature’s repertory? Inward Journey Robert Louis Stevenson. (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894)
The Mistress Of Vision –
Secret was the garden;
Set i’ the pathless awe
Where no star its breath can draw.
Life, that is its warden,
Sits behind the fosse of death. Mine eyes saw not,
and I saw.
It was a mazeful wonder;
Thrice three times it was enwalled
With an emerald–
Seal-ed so asunder.
All its birds in middle air hung a-dream, their
The Lady of fair weeping,
At the garden’s core,
Sang a song of sweet and sore
And the after-sleeping;
In the land of Luthany, and the tracts of Elenore.
With sweet-panged singing,
Sang she through a dream-night’s day;
That the bowers might stay,
Birds bate their winging,
Nor the wall of emerald float in wreath-ed haze away.
The lily kept its gleaming,
In her tears (divine conservers!)
Wash-ed with sad art;
And the flowers of dreaming
Pal-ed not their fervours,
For her blood flowed through their nervures;
And the roses were most red, for she dipt them in
There was never moon,
Save the white sufficing woman:
Light most heavenly-human–
Like the unseen form of sound,
Sensed invisibly in tune,–
With a sun-deriv-ed stole
All her lovely body round;
Lovelily her lucid body with that light was inter-
The sun which lit that garden wholly,
Low and vibrant visible,
Tempered glory woke;
And it seem-ed solely
Like a silver thurible
Solemnly swung, slowly,
Fuming clouds of golden fire, for a cloud of incense-
But woe’s me, and woe’s me,
For the secrets of her eyes!
In my visions fearfully
They are ever shown to be
As fring-ed pools, whereof each lies
Pallid-dark beneath the skies
Of a night that is
But one blear necropolis.
And her eyes a little tremble, in the wind of her
Many changes rise on
Their phantasmal mysteries.
They grow to an horizon
Where earth and heaven meet;
And like a wing that dies on
The vague twilight-verges,
Many a sinking dream doth fleet
Lessening down their secrecies.
And, as dusk with day converges,
Their orbs are troublously
Over-gloomed and over-glowed with hope and fear
of things to be.
There is a peak on Himalay,
And on the peak undeluged snow,
And on the snow not eagles stray;
There if your strong feet could go,–
Looking over tow’rd Cathay
From the never-deluged snow–
Farthest ken might not survey
Where the peoples underground dwell whom
antique fables know.
East, ah, east of Himalay,
Dwell the nations underground;
Hiding from the shock of Day,
For the sun’s uprising-sound:
Dare not issue from the ground
At the tumults of the Day,
So fearfully the sun doth sound
Clanging up beyond Cathay;
For the great earthquaking sunrise rolling up
Lend me, O lend me
The terrors of that sound,
That its music may attend me.
Wrap my chant in thunders round;
While I tell the ancient secrets in that Lady’s
On Ararat there grew a vine,
When Asia from her bathing rose;
Our first sailor made a twine
Thereof for his prefiguring brows.
Where, upon our dusty earth, of that vine a cluster
On Golgotha there grew a thorn
Round the long-prefigured Brows.
Mourn, O mourn!
For the vine have we the spine? Is this all the
On Calvary was shook a spear;
Press the point into thy heart–
Joy and fear!
All the spines upon the thorn into curling tendrils
I, a wingless mortal, sporting
With the tresses of the sun?
I, that dare my hand to lay
On the thunder in its snorting?
Falls my singed song down the sky, even the old
From the fall precipitant
These dim snatches of her chant
Only have remain-ed mine;–
That from spear and thorn alone
May be grown
For the front of saint or singer any divinizing twine.
Her song said that no springing
Paradise but evermore
Hangeth on a singing
That has chords of weeping,
And that sings the after-sleeping
To souls which wake too sore.
‘But woe the singer, woe!’ she said; ‘beyond the
dead his singing-lore,
All its art of sweet and sore,
He learns, in Elenore!’
Where is the land of Luthany,
Where is the tract of Elenore?
I am bound therefor.
‘Pierce thy heart to find the key;
With thee take
Only what none else would keep;
Learn to dream when thou dost wake,
Learn to wake when thou dost sleep.
Learn to water joy with tears,
Learn from fears to vanquish fears;
To hope, for thou dar’st not despair,
Exult, for that thou dar’st not grieve;
Plough thou the rock until it bear;
Know, for thou else couldst not believe;
Lose, that the lost thou may’st receive;
Die, for none other way canst live.
When earth and heaven lay down their veil,
And that apocalypse turns thee pale;
When thy seeing blindeth thee
To what thy fellow-mortals see;
When their sight to thee is sightless;
Their living, death; their light, most light-
Search no more–
Pass the gates of Luthany, tread the region Elenore.’
Where is the land of Luthany,
And where the region Elenore?
I do faint therefor.
‘When to the new eyes of thee
All things by immortal power,
Near or far,
To each other link-ed are,
That thou canst not stir a flower
Without troubling of a star;
When thy song is shield and mirror
To the fair snake-curl-ed Pain,
Where thou dar’st affront her terror
That on her thou may’st attain
Persean conquest; seek no more,
O seek no more!
Pass the gates of Luthany, tread the region Elenore.’
So sang she, so wept she,
Through a dream-night’s day;
And with her magic singing kept she–
Mystical in music–
That garden of enchanting
In visionary May;
Swayless for my spirit’s haunting,
Thrice-threefold walled with emerald from our mor-
tal mornings grey.
And as a necromancer
Raises from the rose-ash
The ghost of the rose;
My heart so made answer
To her voice’s silver plash,–
Stirred in reddening flash,
And from out its mortal ruins the purpureal phantom
Her tears made dulcet fretting,
Her voice had no word,
More than thunder or the bird.
The ravished soul her meanings knew. Mine ears
heard not, and I heard.
When she shall unwind
All those wiles she wound about me,
Tears shall break from out me,
That I cannot find
Music in the holy poets to my wistful want, I doubt
Francis Thompson (December 18, 1859 – November 13, 1907)
J.R.W.T. Men of the Trees. Preserving a Heritage. The Sydney Morning Herald. Feb. 1, 1935.
International Tree Foundation ITF 2016
For more information:
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
Contact the MVA The MVA has begun a Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund. If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund (MVA RSBBAA trust fund)” .
July 9, 2016 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area CLEAN UP Day PAMPHLET