Rise Up, Trees: Frank’s Tree Service.
My friend and collaborator Simon Frank created a performance art film some years ago which I saw at an exhibition at Hamilton's Cotton Factory. He was riffing off that remarkable scene in Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five where time moves backward and the bombs lift from Dresden, go back into the bombers which fly back to the factory and the bombs are disassembled and their metals and minerals are put back into the earth. In Simon's video, a wood chipper disgorges whole trees and Simon plants the trees back into the ground.
I'd never been able to get it out of my mind and so I recently asked him if I could add words and music to it. I'm really delighted with how it turned out. I'll eventually post the video or a link to where it can be viewed, but in the meantime, here's the text that I wrote plus two stills from the video.
Rise Up, Trees: Frank’s Tree Service.
Gather round and lend ears for let’s hear the truly foremost story of Frank’s Tree Service. O Frank’s Tree Service serves tree trunks for free. Frank’s Tree service is the foremost tree service for trees. Frank’s Tree service is the foremost tree service for forests. Frank’s Tree service arrives in a Frank’s Tree service truck and so the Frank’s Tree Service service technician arrives on the scene in Frank’s Tree service overalls and says, We’re experts in the field because nothing beats Frank’s Tree Service overall or overalls. And lend ears and gather round for nothing makes us happy because nothing is like trees. Imagine how it feels when the sky is dark and you’re the first star. That’s Frank’s trusty Tree Service. You’re the first tree. You’re reborn. You’re a tree and you’re reborn as a tree. And soon you’ll be surrounded by a forest of trees reborn in a forest reborn and filled with trees.
If a tree falls in the forest, oh that’s good because it means there’s a forest. But if a tree falls in the forest that’s not so good because it means Frank’s Tree Service isn’t there. If a tree falls in the forest and makes no sound, it’s falling the wrong way. But don’t worry for if it makes no sound, we at Frank’s Tree Service still hear it.
Rise up, trees of the forest. Rise up into the waiting hands of a Frank’s Tree Service trained and certified tree technician. We’re technicians of trees. Magicians of the forest. Chipper alchemists of wood.
Imagine how much wood a wood chipper would chip if a wood chipper had nothing but ungovernable hope and the unbridled ability to make forests like we create pulp fiction.
Frank’s Tree Service serves trunks for free. Trees rise up. We write the rise of the forest. We right what was fallen and we make the forests alright, alight with life.
They say you can’t see the forest for the trees or the lack thereof. They say there are no trees because the forest isn’t there or it’s a ghost forest filled with ghost trees. They say the wind is the ghost of leaves and the ghost leaves shake in the ghost wind as it winds through the ghost forest.
The hollow forest is an open mouth formed into the shape of an invisible forest. The wind howls through the invisible forest, ghost forest, forgotten forest, lost forest.
They say you can only find a forest if you know where the trees are. They say you can only find a forest if there are trees there, and you can only find the trees if the trees are not lost. They say you can only reverse a forest if you know it needs reversing. They say the opposite of a forest is not nothing but less than nothing.
They say the birds would sing for the forgotten forest if there were any birds left to sing. They say that sometimes the birds have lost their song.
Or the songs have lost their birds, like leaves falling from forgotten trees or the wind moving through the forgotten branches of lost trees that are there no more.
What does a tree think? A tree thinks forest. A forest thinks tree.A tree thinks other trees and so forests.
A forest thinks in forests. And mycorrhiza. Rise up, trees. Rise up, birds.Rise up, lost leaves and forgotten songs. Frank’s tree services makes trees rise. We make birds come to life. We make the forest arise
But gather your ears and lean round for here is a secret about forests. We take what was broken and fix it. We make what was broken and put it back together. We take the parts of the tree and make a tree. We take the trees of the forest and make a forest. We take the branches of the broken heart and make a heart. We take the heart and send blood. We send blood round the forest like sap. We build a forest by fixing our mistakes. Listen! Send this through your cell phone towers. Send this to your people’s ears. This is foremost. This is foremost in the forest. This is how to build a forest. You build a forest by fixing your mistakes. By fixing the broken. By wearing overalls and walking backwards. By gathering together. By sticking in. By sticking close. By taking the pieces and not letting them remain pieces. You build a forest with trees. You make trees with a forest. You make trees by looking closely at a forest. You make trees by never forgetting the trees.