Trees at pointReturn

Digging of pits in grove [4] began in Sep., 2008. They were left to weather. Subsurface piping for watering trees had existed up to the contour trench. The network was extended to grove [4], ready to serve the new arrivals After the rains, foundation feed was filled in the pits. Plants were procured from a nursery run by a self-help group of women of the Irula tribe. All these were achieved in the teeth of extreme labour scarcity. It would not have been possible without the active support of Sumathy and Ananthu who mobilised volunteers.

No activity takes place at pointRteurn over Sundays, which is when friends of pointReturn are free to come. On weekdays they are at work. So raising volunteers is a hard task until basic facilities come up and overnight stays are possible. On January 13, it was finally time to settle the saplings in their home. Ananthu worked the eMail to muster support.

in the end, we were 9 people in all ferrying plants, tamping them down, placing stakes and tying them. Then all plants were given a cold drenching. A a few broke off to cook lunch at the kitchen. It was a one course meal of organic broken wheat with vegetables of every colour and spiced just right. Sumathy’s recipe went down well with the planters.

planting at pointReturn

When I stood on the new field and looked east, I was taken aback by the ten acres that remained to be planted. But then I turned west and gazed at grove [3] planted almost exactly an year ago. I had not quite seen the grove from the point where I now stood. “Oh my!”, I gasped. “how much and how well they have grown”. Some were over 7′ tall and most were casting a shadow. The sight lifted my spirits.

I recalled something that Bill Mollison had quoted in his Permaculture Designer’s Manual. I looked it up that night. It was quote from a Herman Hesse book:

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating teachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves… They struggle with all the forces of their lives for thing only: to build up their own forms. to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary, than a beautiful strong tree.”

Nothing is more satisfying, I might add, than to be of assistance to trees in their quest for service.

7 thoughts on “Trees at pointReturn

  1. Hi DV,

    I’m excited by your new project. It appears you’ve discovered…or at least are in the process of discovering…the spiritual strength of trees. They are, without a doubt, one of the strongest objects on this planet to ground a person when life is getting out of hand. They are alive with power. Spiritual…mystical…and magickal…they possess the wisdom of The Old Ones, and whisper this knowledge through their leaves to anyone who is in tune with the Earth. As always…I admire and applaud your effort to make this world a little better place for those who walk the path behind you. Well done, my friend. May the Gods be with you.


  2. This was a heartening read. Thank you for being a constant source of inspiration.

    We are in the process of planting 8000 trees in our 10 acres. I found the book ‘Reaching for the Sun’ by John King extremely useful.


  3. Hi DV,

    I have been reading your blog for a while and your description of pointreturn brings it alive in front of our eyes. Publishing is diff business. Farming is equally tough for an urban convert. doing both at the same time and that too from a wasteland is commendable.

    Well done. I shall visit pointreturn when i visit chennai next vacation.

    Ram, London.

  4. dear sujatha…
    like you say, drumstick and curry leaf plants are ‘common’ household plants. i thought it trivial to list them. yes, they too are growing at pR

  5. dear sir,
    though i rarely write to you,i eagerly wait for your articles and reading them always gives me a lot of peace and one of the readers said,when i didnt find a new article for quite sometime,i.too.was starting to worry about your i was both relieved and happy to see the new article.
    in the place,i stayed earlier,i was blessed to have a garden with many trees.the sun shining through the fresh green leaves,the birds chirping around them,the gentle breeze with the leaves rustling are sights and sounds i can never forget.i have spent so many blissful moments just gazing at all this.apart from this ,the trees also benefited me monetarily because they helped me cut down my electricity bedroom was surrounded by trees and they kept the room so cool that very often ,in the middle of the night,i had to switch off even the fan – this,when all my neighbours and friends had to use ACs to keep them cool.
    just out of curiosity,i would like to know why you didnt plant curry leaves trees and drumstick trees – 2 common trees in south india.
    i hope i can visit point return when i visit chennai in july/aug.
    with warm regards,

  6. Its been an extremely happy read. I myself come from a near-desert region, and the sight of a big green tree is one of the happiest sights in life.
    I will make my way to pointreturn some day.

  7. Dear shridharan ji,
    it was an end of long waiting, which was giving rise to some fear and suspicion about how things were going at point return and i had also started to worry about your health.
    i have gone through the letter in one breath, thank you. i missed the pictures of our trees grove, may be next time you will post some recent pictures of new growth and development.
    list of trees and their description with net images was great.too much to learn.
    if ever i come to tamilnadu to come to pointreturn will be like pilgrimage. why do you not allow any work on Sunday, knowing that it may lot easier for volunteers to contribute on sunday .
    bye for now, i have to go through the list of trees and learn to recognize them.
    take care of your health.
    rakesh ravi

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