Call for submissions: Festival 37, “Survivor Trees”

For its 3rd anniversary, the Festival travels to TGAW for a special themed edition focusing on survivor trees. Here’s how our host, Vicky, describes it:

In 1945, the atomic bomb destroyed a vast majority of the buildings and structures in Hiroshima. Looking at photographs of the damage, one Manhattan Project scientist told the Washington Post the land “will be barren of life and nothing will grow for 75 years.” But the next spring, Chinese Parasol trees only 1300 meters from the hypocenter budded.

And they weren’t alone — numerous species of trees survived. Seeing the trees rebound brought hope to the citizens of Hiroshima and they realized that they too had the ability to rebuild and recover.

In the Bijlmermeer Neighborhood of Amsterdam stands a tree called “The Tree That Saw It All”. In 1992, a Boeing 747 crashed in that neighborhood, killing 43 people and destroying numerous apartments. A tree near the edge of the impact survived and become the impromptu center of mourning. “Flowers, pictures, stuffed animals and poems were placed beneath it.” The tree was so important to the community that today, a memorial for the crash victims (Bijlmer Memorial) surrounds that same tree.

In 1995, when a car bomb tore through the Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people, a nearby American Elm tree survived. Like Hiroshima, it too became a symbol of hope and resilience. It is now known as the “Survivor Tree” and like the “The Tree That Saw It All”, it is the focal point of the Oklahoma City Memorial. Drawing inspiration from the tree, the plaque beneath it reads, “The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us.”

For July’s Festival of the Trees, I would love to receive submissions regarding “survivor trees”: trees that have survived great tragedies or remarkably harsh environments. Trees that have rebounded and found a way to thrive. Trees that have brought hope or comfort. Trees that inspire us in times of need.

Email your links to: vicky (at) tgaw (dot) com by June 28 for inclusion in the July 1 festival. As always, please include “Festival of the Trees” in the subject line of your email.


About Dave Bonta

I live in an Appalachian hollow in the Juniata watershed of central Pennsylvania, and spend a great deal of time walking in the woods. My books of poetry include FAILED STATE: HAIBUN, ICE MOUNTAIN: AN ELEGY, BREAKDOWN: BANJO POEMS, and ODES TO TOOLS.

Posted on June 13, 2009, in Announcements. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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