Riva Capellari

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Located in Brookside in the heart of Kansas City

A Community of Trees

Summer is  here and thinking about my next essay in my tree series, the phrase, “forest for the trees” comes to mind. I took a pause to contemplate what that really means. That we don’t see the big picture? That we are too focused on detail? I gently nuanced my way into the idea of the duality of human nature, community vs. separateness.

This brings to mind my neighborhood. While we all live in a type of  “bungalow” style, our commoness also derives from the physical closeness of our homes. My next door neighbor a few short steps from my door. Together these  disparate little houses provide a sort of fortress, a living, protective barrier that encircles our neighborhood community.

Inner lights are like beacons for those coming home in the dark while they warm and illuminate those inside. Each in our self-made cocoon, exclusive to us, but only having to glance out the window to see the silhouettes of those next door, across the street.

There are a multitude of other images: huge, dense crowds, populated by single independent individuals, but viewed as a stationary or moving mass, united behind the admiration of a music band, a march for justice, a support group for a favorite sports team. Strangers coming together to form a temporary community for strength and power.

Within a mass of green in summer or a kaleidoscope of colors in fall, a closer look reveals diverse leaf shapes, a variety of cones and seeds, different bark textures and branch formation. These unique complexities contribute to form an ever expanding canopy that masks the separateness of each tree, like crowds of people clammering to make to it the front row, rushing for a subway car or gathering outside a ticket office in the early hours of the morning to get the best seat. Their aloneness seemingly lost inside the horde, but actually contributing distinct personhood to the whole.

Like trees that crowd together, housing living things, sheltering and shading, humans gather to celebrate, to rejoice, to help. We step out of the safe, small circle in which we live into a wider expanse of bodies and energy. To shift the balance from private and personal to community consciousness. We nourish each other like trees protecting the young while they grow or the sick while they heal or the downtrodden until they get back on their feet. An underlying network that binds us together, invisibly, forging a foundation of humanity.

Seasonal Life

It is the beginning of spring now. The older I get, the more I am aware on multifarious levels of these seasonal changes. Born and raised in Michigan, these annual metamorphoses were very much intertwined with my daily life. It wasn’t until I moved to California for 3 years that I sensed how infected

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Pages of Trees

I love books. Libraries are some of my favorite places. I love their restfulness. I love walking around in them, scanning titles and covers, pulling a book off a shelf to read the inside of the front cover, look at the author’s photo on the back. Whenever I moved to a new city, one

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2023 The Year of the Tree

2023 The Year of the Tree

After my challenging and invigorating project for 2022, “creating my canvas”, I rummaged through my collection of essays and philosophical meanderings to arrive at an often visited theme – Trees. From discovering their below ground, inter-connectedness and moving through their seasonal changes and upheavals,

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The Blessings of Darkness

I received a lovely Christmas gift this year, an Advent Calendar with daily messages from Joy Zimmerman. While they all have been delightful, the poem she read on December 21st, the winter solstice, blossomed into something unexpected.

Having completed my “blank canvas” challenge for 2022, I have been wandering

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Finishing the Canvas

It has been an unbelievable journaling year for me, thanks to Joy Zimmerman’s terrific idea for 2022 – to design and create our own canvas. I took up the challenge and not only did I thoroughly enjoy myself, but came to realize that this task propelled me to plumb the depths of things

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