Trees - Pop-Up Magazine Field Guide

Part 3


Trees can feel magical. And they can teach us a lot about ourselves and our world. In this episode, we invite you to go outside and into the trees. You could find a tree to sit under while you listen. Or take a walk and look at the trees around you — wherever you are. Radio host Molly Webster (Radiolab), author David Haskell (The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature's Great Connectors), Stanford’s unofficial school mascot, luthier Freeman Vines, Yurok tribal member Rick O’Rourke, author Katherine May (Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times), and more help us meditate on trees big and small.

Audio transcript

Rooted by Yuko Shimizu
Growth by Rose Marie Cromwell
If Trees Could Talk by Eddie Herena
Sanctuary by Elle Pérez
The Medicine Tree by Taiylr Irvine
A Fallen Leaf by Chioma Ebinama
Fakes by Michelle Groskopf & Jordan Baumgarten
In Bloom by Genesis Báez
Forest Bathing by Rinko Kawauchi

Video by Rinko Kawauchi


by Yuko Shimizu


A few weeks ago, a friend sent me a video, a sermon about the people worth keeping in our lives. The preacher made an analogy to trees. People who really care about you are like roots, he said. They keep you standing. I’m an atheist, but I keep thinking about this.


by Rose Marie Cromwell

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Banyan trees in Florida
Mt. Tam, from San Quentin, 2016

If Trees Could Talk

by Eddie Herena

“Forget walls, if trees could talk... They would say some shit, and we would have to listen. Trees are full of wisdom for sure. I was incarcerated for about 14 years. Since I’ve been out, my relationship with nature has grown stronger. I feel at peace when I’m surrounded by nature.”

Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline, Martinez, California


by Elle Pérez

Lake Martin, Louisiana

The Medicine Tree

by Taiylr Irvine

Prayer bundles hang from the Bitterroot Salish tribe’s Medicine Tree, which stands along Highway 93 outside of Darby, Montana. The tree was more than 300 years old when, in 2001, a windstorm snapped its trunk. Each year, members of my tribe leave the reservation and travel over a hundred miles to their aboriginal homeland to pray to the tree and teach the next generation part of their creation story.

A Fallen Leaf

by Chioma Ebinama

Courtesy of the artist and Fortnight Institute

There was a dried banyan leaf I’d seen hanging in a friend’s kitchen. The leaf was so dry and fine, it was almost weightless. Whenever I walked by it too quickly, it would fall from the tiny pin securing it to the bookshelf. Every time it fell, it would lose a little bit of its papery leaf flesh, but the veins would remain intact. I loved to look at its delicate veins. I loved how even with all its missing parts, it was still recognizably a beautiful leaf. I made several versions of the beloved, a recurring figure in my work, trying to depict a wounded form, mimicking the delicate sinews of a dried leaf. It is the perfect symbol of vulnerability and resilience.



by Michelle Groskopf & Jordan Baumgarten


In Bloom

by Genesis Báez

Cherry blossoms in Central Park, New York

Forest Bathing

by Rinko Kawauchi

The sky is the same,
but life has changed.
I can’t see people as easily.
Some things, though, have not changed.
When I breathe under the trees,
I feel connected to the cycle of life,
since the beginning of time.
I remember that
I am
part of nature.
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