Canada Day Maple Tree Project
Maple of Maple
The old wood of the Maple that stood over a childhood
Taken down at the end of its life, cut, dried and saved, to sit.
Of old Maple, Shingles Split
The Shape of the leaves traced from progeny
Branches, leaves, of lines cut, the past void, shapes the present
And will seed the future
To flag, unfurl tail
In the winds of dreams that from clouds fall.
To spin away a maple seed,
Roots into soil to crawl, buds towards open sky to lead.
Oh the maple leaf, waiting into dreams to be freed
And grow up true and strong indeed.
The wood for this project came from a massive grandmother Maple tree that formerly grew in the yard of a prominent PLOT volunteer, Steve W.
He grew up with this tree. He and his brother played on it and made forts in it. The tree provided shade in the summer to their porch where the family had picnics. It was a sad day when it had to come down, but the rot threatened the safety of the home.
Steve saved large chunks of the tree and then was inspired to create this visual honouring of the tree at the Canada Cultural Day at the PLOT.
All the rough hand hewn shakes were created using a small hatchet.
The template for the shape of the wooden leaves used in the project came from leaves of a maple that had sprouted from one of the seeds of this Matriarch Maple. This younger tree is growing healthy and vital in Steve’s family home.
“As Canadians, especially White Canadians, as we increase in our awareness of systemic and institutional racism, and as we are seeing how deeply white privilege is embedded in our structures and systems, personally and collectively, may we speak to this new understanding, addressing the harm that came in with colonialism and still exits for indigenous people and people of colour. May we listen more and find ways to eradicate these forms of racism from our systems and ways of thinking.
May we see this tree symbolically. Sometimes when the rot is great we need remove what is dangerous. There is contained in this story, a seed of promise for new life. May it be that the goodness and regenerative power comes forth as we forge ways of being together that are new and cleansed of old prejudiced paradigms.
May this time of pandemic and increased global awareness regarding colonialism, institutionalized racism and its continued harm to Canada’s indigenous population and people of colour bring us to a better place for all, in Canada and in the world.
May this new Maple tree grow healthy and strong as we open to new awareness, learn new language and find ways to bring colonial thoughts and racist ways to an end.”