This truly beautiful gift book contains duotone photographs by William Guion of southern live oaks. He has been reverencing them in his native Louisiana for more than 15 years. In the introduction, Guion refers to the spiritual significance of oaks to Greeks, Celts, and Native Americans. He appreciates them as wise elders and profound spiritual teachers.
Guion's evocative photographs reveal how the trees seem to draw out and convey the spirit of a place whether standing in state parks, plantations, or gardens. There are oak alleys, oaks caught in the diffuse haze of early morning, oaks with branches intertwining in the shadows, solitary oaks poised like sentries in the middle of fields. The light as it plays on the branches and illuminates the areas around the oaks is another theme worth your attention.
Alongside these oaks are 30 brief poems by the Sufi mystical poet Rumi, with translations by poet Coleman Barks in collaboration with Persian scholar John Moyne. Guion, who has been a teacher of transcendental meditation for almost 20 years, has perfectly matched these poems and the varied trees with themes such as longing, love, mystery, gratitude, eternity, sacredness, and silence. Our favorite, a leaning oak reflected in a pond — it appears on the hardcover jacket of our book Spiritual Literacy — is complemented by a Rumi quatrain including the lines "Turn as the earth and the moon turn, / circling what they love."
This enchanting book draws a bead on the deep connection between nature and the soul's delight. It would make a wonderful gift for any lover of trees or poetry. Guion lives in Utah where he is working on future book projects utilizing his photographs and writing.