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THE EAGLE TREE: The Remarkable Story of A Boy and A Tree ~Ned Hayes

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

An environmental love story, takes place in my hometown, is a great voice for autism and potential.  Peter March Wong is a fourteen-year-old boy who loves to climb trees – at least 3 everyday.  He is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge about trees and he is a gifted scientist.

March and his mother have moved into a smaller house, because Dad has moved to Arizona.  This move is very unsettling to March and he needs to climb a tree, a very tall tree.  He does not follow the rules because he discovers an extremely tall, old tree in the distance, when he was up in the new neighbor’s tree.  He spent too long up in the tree and his mother is worried and concerned….everything is new and different…. March explodes into a screaming and hand flapping experience and the police arrive to take him to a hospital for observation.  Now March needs to learn new behaviors as he comes into adulthood and in order to stay with his mother.

The huge EAGLE TREE is also under attack, as a developer wants to clear-cut the area and put up houses and apartments right at that very spot.

“Intertwining themes of humanity and ecology, THE EAGLE TREE eloquently explores what it means to be part of a family, a society, and the natural world that surrounds and connects us.” (cover)

I so enjoyed the comments in the book that praised our wonderful schools and the commitment to assisting children to be their best.  March’s mother will not move to Arizona because there are no programs like here and no commitment to education for all.  Washington State has amazing schools.

I knew nothing about this book when TLC Book Tours sent me a copy for review. I am so pleased to share this story with you.  It was a wonderful read; a hopeful read.

The Librarian I was working with last week said he had the book on his list and he was #15 for check out; he could hardly wait for his turn.

I want to share two cover quotes that I believe are significant in sharing this book with others:

“Every human experience is unique, but THE EAGLE TREE provides insight into one distinctive and uniquely important perspective.  The descriptions of climbing in EAGLE TREE get deep into the mathematical pattern-based sensory world of a person with autism.  The experience of navigating a tree climb is described in detail with mathematical and sensory detail that seems very authentic to me.” Temple Grandin, Ph.D.

“A gorgeously written novel that features one of the most accurate, finely drawn and memorable autistic protagonists in literature.  The hero of the book is like a 14-year-old Walt Whitman with autism.  Credible, authentic, powerful.”  Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.

I enjoyed every single page of this book and cheered for March’s growth, passion, and determination.  This book should be required reading at least for our whole city and will bring a sense of pride and button popping spirit for our community and our efforts in behalf of our natural resources.

From the cover:

“Ned Hayes holds an MFA in creative writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.  THE EAGLE TREE is based on his past experience working with children on the autistic spectrum and on family and friends he knows and loves.  Hayes lives in Olympia, Washington, with his wife and children.”

Ned Hayes Facebook
Ned Hayes Webpage

Temple Grandin
When Women Were Birds


Friday, April 24th, 2015

“THE ROBOT SCIENTIST’S DAUGHTER gives us a magnificent voice, at turns ‘happy with the apple blossoms,’ and whip-smart enough to know ‘the beauties of voltmeter and oscilloscope.’ But underneath the beautifully measured sheen and spark of these bright stanzas, is a human who opens up thrilling new worlds by also fearlessly inhabiting poems of sorrow, survival, and identity.” –Aimee Nezhukumatathil.

Powerful is one of the first words which comes to mind when I think of THE ROBOT SCIENTIST’S DAUGHTER.  I was so happy to have this book early so I could read a poem each day and come back to it with my mind often to savor the images and recall my own feelings about nuclear families and nuclear reactors of my history and knowledge.

My own family ate the green weeds and flowers of the ground in hopes of growing healthy and cleansing the pesticides and chemicals of the past progresses.  We worshiped the apple blossoms and witnessed the testing of the bombs and the growing cancers right within our core.  There is a tender childhood memoir wrapped within an environmental beauty that we know as our home until it is paved over and rendered dead.

As I live in the State with the most MS anywhere in the world.  As the fossil fuel fogies attempt to destroy the sound waters daily  (oil and water do not mix – I thought everyone knew that?). I pounced on these words and knew them with joy and intimacy wanting to shout out about this experience expressed and the insights shared in each phrase and precise capture; share them with my world and those people of my neighborhood.

This poetry is a positive use of punctuation with readable stop points and a rhythm, which strengthens its form and readability- Intelligent!  It is not so free form as to loose focus and poignancy.

I want to introduce my daughters to this eco-feminism and her fearless words right at this moment as we celebrate Poetry Month and our drought is making known its energy and as we combine to celebrate Earth Day and the Procession of The Species parade and Arts Walk.   The book is an art form – not to be missed.

From Amazon:

Jeannine Hall Gailey recently served as the Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She is the author of four books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers and The Robot Scientist’s Daughter. Her poems have been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac and on Verse Daily; two were included in 2007’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She was awarded a 2007 and 2011 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize for Poetry and a 2007 Washington State Artist Trust GAP grant. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, and Prairie Schooner.

I feel privileged to have been given this book for review by Serena at  Poetic Book Tours

I apologize to Jeannine Hall Gailey for being a day late on posting this review of her magnificent book, but I too have spent a lifetime of working on health and living with a Downwinder of the Hanford Nuclear Release!  Some days are just impossible to manage.   We’re here now and so thankful for knowing of your book and wisdom.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Flight Behavior
The Sowing
When Women Were Birds 

Eye of the Storm

Thursday, January 26th, 2012


42’ F clear skies and sunshine.  We are getting a break in the storm for at least 12 hours and then 40 mph winds and about 3” of rain starting at midnight tonight.  This is just the eye of the storm.

There remains lots of snow and ice on the ground, but this dry spell allows for the garbage pickup, shoveling time, schools to reopen, and storm drains to be cleared.  There is plenty of preparation time for clearing fallen trees and opening the pathways for the coming rain to move on; opportunities to control the presumed and predicted flooding.

We got out the chain saw and took down the broken branches on the plum and crabapple trees.  We hauled our neighbors redwood tree branches off the road way and moved the log sized ones away from our house.  We have shoveled and cleared the drains. The stuck sump pump has been repaired.

We started the new year with spring like weather and so many clear, cold days of sunshine and bulbs poking up, I think people thought there would be no winter.  That those predictions of heavy and wet days were not coming and true winter was about a week long in November, which was a month before the actual start.  Mother Nature had other plans.

I spent 13 hours with no power in the midst of the snow and ice storm, watching and listening to the huge branches of that redwood tree break and fall towards my home.  I could hear the falling limbs in the woods behind my house and it was frightening.  As lovely as the snow falling looked, the driving ice was no bonus and I was concerned for our house and the solar panels – our safety and welfare.

I wrapped myself in blankets, put the pup on my lap and pulled on two sweaters over my long underwear and top.  Long underwear and fleece right down to the 2 pair of socks and knit slippers. Just my nose and fingers felt the chill.  I cranked up the radio and flashlight, and spent hours of my day light reading.  I knew what to do about staying warm and safe, I was unsure about what to do to keep my house also safe.

The eye of the storm is only so long and with the other end just hours away, one hopes that folks know what to do and how to prepare.  I do not think they practice anything but fire drills in schools anymore?

Over the years, I have begun to understand that there are lots of eyes in the storms of living.  Many of these storms can be predicted and prepared for and still the eye is important to allow the unknowns to be cared for and recovered, before the next onslaught.

As the birds play on the wind and feast at the holly trees, this eye is giving me an opportunity to let go of the feelings of intense fear about the neighbor’s tree, it is providing time for me to think about what I want to say to them to create safety, and it is providing a vision of what needs to be done.

I am practicing letting go of fear and increasing my knowledge base and celebrating how thus far we have weathered the storm.  I am counting my blessings which are numerous and collecting other’s stories of how they fared and what work they need to do ahead.  I am filled with gratitude for all the moments of the storm and for our safe journey thus far and I am releasing the fear.

The eye of the storm is filled with sunshine so we can prepare for what is next to come.  Do you celebrate the eye of the storm?  What assists you in letting go of the fear?  Do the storms of living help you to understand and grow?  Do you have a story to share?

The folks at Patricia’s Wisdom invite you to come on over to Wise Ears and subscribe to our occasional newsletter or come by to share your story.  We offer professional listening services and we grow by referral.  Who’s hearing what you have to say?

NOTE:   At the writing of the post, I still do not have an internet server.  Many communications towers are down.   I am sorry I am not able to reply to comments or even moderate some.   I am accomplishing this post by putting it on a flash drive and heading off to a computer with servers working to get it to IT Girl and have it posted.  There is considerable storm damage that is keeping things from being back to normal.

Related Reading:
After Math
Change Artist in Action
Increase Your Emotional IQ
Snow Day

Trees Coming Down

Monday, June 13th, 2011
Catalpa trees to come down 2011

Catalpa trees to come down 2011

My neighbor’s 3 Catalpa Trees are ancient and quite rotten.  They have been declared dangerous not only to sewer lines, sidewalk upheaval, but also for the possibility of falling branches.

I am sure that my neighbors will miss these lovely trees, and the shade they offer in summer.

Did you know that on one night during the fall season, all the leaves come down at once?

I do!

For the last 20 years I have raked these leaves out of my yard and the storm drains because they make a slippery, clogging mess.  The leaves are huge.

I have mixed feelings because the trees are dangerous and these trees have a specific lifespan, which they have exceeded, but because they have always been a part of my experience I wonder about them.

The picture at the top of the page is what I see from my office door.  It is the painting/view on that wall.

Wikipedia information about Catalpa Trees

The 100 year old cherry tree came down 2 weeks ago from across the street. Lots of change happening.

Necessary change brings up many feelings too.  Are people working on their trees in your neighborhood?  How does that change the landscape for you?

Related Reading:
The Life of an Apple Tree
Trees which become Catalogues
Keep Watching by Terrill Welsh
Trim the Dead Wood – It’s Gotta Go
The Tree of Life

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