I stepped from the sweltering August heat into the shade of a native tree and my breath deepened, my shoulders relaxed and my eyes swept from the ground to the view. I was on a hillside of Cinque Terre, Italy, on the Italian Riviera. Below me vivid, multi-coloured rooftops were tucked between stone cliffs, lush and verdant olive and grape yards tumbled over stone terraces and colourful boats floated on a truly azure sea. Here AZURE is a real colour and verdant connotes a saturated smell as well as many shades of green.
Who of my readers has heard of Cinque Terre, Italy?
Translated as “Five Lands” it is a set of five hamlets. These small towns are without cars or moderninity. They cling to the cliffs and extend into the sea. It is a rugged portion of the Liguria Region of Italy (North Atlantic coast, just under the top lip of the boot) where people from all over the world traverse the cliffs to explore one of Mother Earth’s most beautiful landscapes. I felt a serene connection with the nature around me and a true sense of accomplishment when I finished scaling the mountainside. The 10 km hike between all 5 cities, takes approximately 5 hours; a little more if you sit at a café in one and sun on a jutting rock in another…
A student, just out of university, I was forced (by the fortunate adjunct of good professors and mentors) to think in scientific method about how the shade of the tree changed the average temperature between direct sun and shadow. So many variables: type of thermometer, time of year, time of day, wind… For me on this day, it seemed in the range of 15 degrees, and it was the shade of the tree on a hot day that focused my attention…
A sense of peace, of appreciation, of grandeur enveloped me like the oxygen I swear I could sense coming from the cool shadow. In my awareness, I noted not only the landscape but the sound of multiple human languages, the feel of heavy salt air, the smell of fish and fresh cooked pasta, even up here. It was there, I noted that this environment; one very man-made but so organic in its situation and respect for itself, gave me a tangible respect for life.
The entire coastline, including the cities, are part of the Cinque Terre National Park and it is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site. The WHS catalogues, names and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity. As of 2010, 911 sites have been listed and coincidentally, Italy is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites. It was in 1997 that UNESCO cited Cinque Terre because of its physical significance.
Travelling by train and exploring on foot, I have traversed five countries and dozens of cities, monuments, museums and beautiful landscapes in the last month. I’ll be reporting here on my many adventures and how trees, the environment and its people combine to generate an experience that encourages our caring for this earth.Written by, Adrienne Carlson (edited by, Kristine Akins)
Date Added: September 30, 2010 | Comments Off | Filed under: Facts about Trees,Uncategorized — treeinabox @ 12:53 am
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