The Secret Society Of Oaks - The Arija Award

The Arija Award
"Ancient as time, favourite tree: the oak, animal: the wolf, flower: Anemone hepatica, place: a forest near water. Bird: too numerous to name,camera permanently grafted to hand, lover of light, nature, the sea, mountains, deserts,all forests, musing on the essence of being, loving all things great and small, caring for this wonderful planet of ours. "arija
A wise and and much beloved woman taught me something indirectly through her actions. Having grown up in a country ravaged by wars, governed by a dictator who later fled in the cover of darkness, of thieving and corrupt politicians; a place hammered by typhoons, washed up by floods and battered by droughts, there were times when we had nothing but just enough to quiet our borborygmi. Yet the wise and much beloved woman told us to share what very little we had with those who had none. Whoever came to our home to ask for something never left empty handed. She made me believe that by sharing the very little of what's left, it will multiply. Try telling that to a six year old, it will pass over her head like a flying omega.
It was not until years later when I realized what she meant and see for myself the product of her philosophical multiplication function.
My Mother was also the first woman I knew who practiced conservation without the bleeding heart-liberal mumbo-jumbo that I now hear with the present green movement whose leaders preach and chastise our lives while they jet off to lunch and highly paid lectures, or power their mansions with air-conditioning enough to cool a hospital building and then invest in companies to advance their financial portfolio rather than truly preserving Earth. She lived a life of great sense and meaning and never once did I ever hear her lecture, proclaimed herself holier-than-thou. She taught by example and made the preservation of our environment a basic function much like eating or bathing.
I did not think I will ever find another woman like my mother until I met Arija. They went through wars, natural and man-made disasters yet arose from the ashes and remnants with great dignity and honor. They share a progressive view anchored in timeless wisdom, both of great intellect and compassion.
I am blessed to call Arija my sisterfriend and it is my great honor to design this award to recognize her: A thinking, seeing, feeling, loving person who celebrates life every day. She is an artist, a photographer, a fascinating woman with great sense of humor, wise and thoughtful blogger and a loving and caring friend.
Bella Sinclair had this to say about Arija: "I was reading just a little bit about oaks yesterday. Such a strong wood that it is prized for its strength and density. It refused to be felled for centuries (until the invention of iron tools). That, truly, is Arija, she who offers support and shade, who twinkles in the sunshine and sways with the breeze, and who refuses to be felled."
I am delighted to share this award with my favorite bloggers:

my dearest Arija
.and most especially to India Flint


Arija said...

Ces my dearest, it is three o'clock in the morning and I am crying over my keyboard.
This is just too, too much my dear. I am but a simple pilgrim on this earth doing my best to improve the little speck of it under my care.
To be placed on a level with your mother is the greatest compliment imaginable. I thank you from the depth of my hear Ces.

Ces said...

ACK! three o'clock! You are going to ruin your keyboard! Oh Arija, every time I see your beautiful garden, I hear my mother tell me to go outside and water the garden. I hated that chore, I had to pump the water into a bucket, cary it to the plots and pour the water through a slotted can. We were not allowed to use the hose and the water from the tank. That was for the home. Darn! It was such a chore to take care of the garden but our house looked like a forest or jungle and man was it ever green and peaceful! I see your garden and I read your wise words and I my heart soars! Plus, you are a photographer - my father was a photographer! But I don't think you want me to compare you to my father even though he was terrific. Hahahaha!

Renee said...

Ces on behalf of myself and hopefully the other queens in the secret society of oaks we could not be happier to have Queen Arija so honoured by our sister Queen Ces.

Ces you are so kind and generous is there any wonder why we all love you so much.

Love Renee xoxo

Silke said...

Yes, what Renee said! Ces, I feel so honored! First of all to be one of the queens in the Secret Society of Oaks (I spoke to some lovely live oaks for us this weekend), but then to be given an award the honors such an amazing woman! You are so very generous!!!

As to your comment on my blog...me, disciplined?!!? Hahahahaha, you must have me confused with someone else!!

Did you see my avatar? Just for you and Bella...

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Oh......oh, oh, oh. (stunned to silence)
Tomorrow is my 300th post. I was pining over what to write, along with putting together a large mixed media box for a blog-give-away....to start others on their art journeys, and then THIS!!!!
I am sitting here trying to find proper words of thanks; they escape me.
So most humbly.......Thank You! I am honored...this oak bows to the Queen of the Society, and the one who brought her to life in ink! ;)


Bella Sinclair said...

This is, without a doubt, one of the highest honors I have ever received. An award for one of the most noble pilgrims who ever walked this earth, who captures the spirit of your equally inspirational mother, created by a most loving and beautiful Sisterfriend. The perfect storm of awards.


Ces said...

OMG Silke! Your avatar! What are you eating?! It's an entire platter of something yummy! Oh my, you are so funny. I saw your mighty oaks all gnarly and twisty and ancient and I sighed. Ah sometimes when life deals you a bad blow, it's good to think of the positive things in life because I don't hink I will be a good depressed person. So today I decided to celebrate the good things in life. Good friends who help me return to sanity when life deals me a fly ball. Good friends prevent stike-outs and losing the game. Have I managed to totally confuse you? It's the platter!

Ces said...

Hello Anne - said one acorn to the other "You are a nut!"

Okay, nothing related to your comment, I just wanted to be funny, but maybe nut, I mean not.

Ces said...

Thanks renee. maybe you just love me because YOU love everybody. :)

Bella, kind and noble,
from one oak to another,
Arija deserves it all.
You are an oak yourself,
you know and quite tall.

Marie S said...

I also think that your mother should be a queen in the Secret Society of Oaks.

I was reading and the tears were rolling down my cheeks and then...
you gave me the award.
Full on sobbing came then and I could not stop. I will burst out in tears all day, my husband will finally think that I have gone completely over the edge. He has been wondering for years now.
Keyboards are going to be blowing all over the world.
OMG!! Ces you have honored me so!
I love you!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Ces said...

Oh Marie, my Halloween Oak Queen Nymph,thank you very much. Don't cry. Oh who cares, cry, go ahead cry, tears moisturize the eyes. Tsup!

lakeviewer said...

Congratulations to all you wonderful women.

Bimbimbie said...

Hiyah*!* In total agreement with you about the hypocrisy in the current political green movements, just another industry for many to line their already bulging pockets.

Thank you Ces, and yes, Renee says it all for me too. Strong, wise and caring people who quietly get on with it are the true custodians.

Silke said...

Only coffee?!? Oh, how can you function. If I had only coffee, I'd be flat on the ground... I must have food at least five times a day! ;) Now, that plate filled with the most delectable French toast was probably a little much for one person, but, oh well, I finished it anyway...

Manon Doyle said...

Ces.... it's after 4:00pm! After days of gloom and doom the sun is finally shining! My mood is terrific and then I come here and now I'm over the moon!

I'm so honored to be part of the secret society of the oaks and to receive the Arja award!!! It is the perfect award and I can't believe you've included me amongst all these wonderful women!! Merci beaucoup Ces! You are truly our queen!!

Marie S said...

After multitudes of bursting out in tears, my eyes are clear but swollen and I came back to read everyone else's responses and see if my name was still on the list.
It is still there!
Everyone had such great comments.
What a magnificent group of queen woman oaks you know.
I am so humbled to be standing in the shade of all their leaves of love.
And tears cleanse the soul.

Ces said...

Hello Rosaria! How delightful to see you again. I wish you a wonderful week.

My dearest Bimbimbie, Hear here! I could not say it better.

Silke, today is a day of fasting.

My dear Manon - thank goodness it's over! Let us work not to have another week like that whatever manifestation it may be for anyone. Have a great week sisterfriend.

Sister Marie, pray tell me you did not cry because of this award otherwise I will stop. Also I do not want to post anything that will have the possibility of making anyone cry, maybe beam with pride but not cry. Too many tears shed this week. Yes? No?

Lisa Holtzman said...

OMG, all of you strong beautiful,insightful women inspire me so!!! To be included with you and receive another award...I am speechless. Thank you so much Queen Ces. After reading your post and the ensuing comments I want to go plant a tree...and I want a piece of that french toast : )

Marie S said...

I am happy crier Ces, it is just the way I roll. The joyfull emotion wells up inside of me and comes out of my eyes and splashes on me and the world.
Please don't ever stop. I don't want to have to cry tears of sadness; they are not my favorite at all.

iNdi@ said...

well, I'll be buttered on both sides!

thank you very much, Ces and thank you also for giving my Ma such a nice bunch of flowers.

and Ma, what you doing out of bed at that hour?

oh, and about that garden watering...all of us can be grateful that our father wasn't Claude Monet. at least you had a pump, Ces, and weren't lugging water from the lake...

Ces said...

Lisa! Isn't Silke a hoot?aking us all hungry. Ah I am just riding their coattails. Arija, Renee, Bella, and everyone in my list are the strong ones, especially today, I am French toast, not even Frech, just toast.

Marie, okay just don't drop any snot on your keyboard!

Ces said...

Oh my my my MY! The apple of Arija's eyes. Hello India, you grace my blog today, thank you. Beats me, why your Ma was up at 3 AM! Hahaha! Oh boy lugging water from the lake, nope but does it count that I had to take baths from the stream in the mountains during my rural internship? Well, if Claude Monet tasked his children for his paintings imagine Henri Rosseau's kids? Thanks. I love your fabric creations!

Arija said...

Oww Ces, you scare me half to death! if my keyboard rusts I will not be able to blog and where would I be then? I'd have to start weeding or doing chores to fill the void and there would be no time to wield a pen, much less a brush....

When we lived in Cologne in Germany, they found more of the original city of Agrippia from the 2nd. century and the oak pylons from the original bridge over the Rhine were still intact after almost two millenia. Pretty amazing is oak, even when it is cut down it still weathers millenia...

Your mother as you know, was quite right. The good one gets should be passed on to someone else, not given back to close the loop. By sharing it with the world and passing it on, there is hope that it may increase a thousandfold. Somewhere, somehow, it will come back to you multiplied when you are at a low point or when you need it most. The world is an amazing place.

My dear, I never thought anyone would make an award for me, I am hmbled indeed.

I must go visit all those lovely people you bestowed it upon.

Ces said...

Arija, when I was a nurse in the clinical area, I took pains to do the extra care that was not required of me but rather which made my patients more comfortable or lightened their physical and emotional load. Some of my fellow nurses asked me why I bothered especially when we were already overworked and understaffed. At that time my parents were alive. I replied that I do these things so that when my parents will need nursing care somewhere, someone may go out of their way to do what I do, that my angels will send them a kind and caring nurse. Now that my parents are gone, i still go out of my way to be helpful to strangers especially the elderly to give thanks to the angels who gave my parents and my mother-in-law kind and caring people throughout their lives and when they were ill. You think I'd be done thanking the angels by now, but I find that there is always someone for whom I have to give thanks.

Why were you up at 3 0'clock in the morning?

Amazing about the oak of Agrippia. Of course there is the Angel oak of Johns' Island in South carolina at 1400 years old.

I have always thought of creating an award for you!

Marie S said...

Oh that is just fine, tease the emotional mess. LOL!!!
I almost swallowed my tongue when I read the comment.
And then the snot on the key board... busted me up!!
You are in a mood aren't you?

...and Arija does it again!
the woman is also a veritable wealth of information.

Ces said...

Marie, I don't know what you are talking about! You are just making up excuses for your snot!

Manon Doyle said...

Ces..... no gloves.... I like to feel the glass. The smalti isn't bad but stained glass leaves my hands all cut up!
A couple of times I really sliced myself on a large sheet....ouch!! I hit the floor when all the blood started pouring out...lol!

What do you mean your art is not technically challenging? It looks way challenging to me! It is so beautifully intricate!

I know you feel heartache so I will give you my tears sisterfriend! If you ask my parents they'll tell you that I was a crying type from the get go. The tears come easily!: )

Marie S said...

It is like a faucet!!
Snot bombs!

Ces said...

You guys are so emotional. Cut it out!

Manon, I hope your tetanus shot is up to date. A thousand cuts, what did they say about it? Hmn? I love women who cry easily as long as they are not using the tears to gain an edge on me JUST DO NOT GIVE ME A CRYING MAN! OMG! I will run away! Ahh! I actually cry like a faucet, let me correct that, I cry like a penitent believer. Once I cried daisy started whimpering with me. Last night I decided to stop crying. I will just become an alcoholic.

Marie, you missed a spot, I mean snot! Eeeeew! Hahahahaha!

Arija said...

Ha! Wouldn't YOU like to know what I was doing up at 3 o'clock in the morning!...well, for no reason I was verging on a Prussian shade of blue. It had been a good day and the Prof had gone to the land of Nod but as I halfheartedly watched an old Katherine Hepburn movie (very old) where she was over acting, something seemed to be gnawing at my soul.... then, by sheer magic, someone sent me the most wonderful award and pushed me right up to the top of the mountain where I had the the most glorious view, the dark cloud no longer obscured the moon and I could go and slip into peaceful slumber...

Manon Doyle said...

Hahahaha!!! When Alex was leaving for college in the fall I'd be on the treadmill and cry at the damn Walmart commercial about the kid going to college and saying goodbye to her mother.... lol! I'll cry if the sunset is beautiful..... maybe I should join you in that bottle of wine! : )

Well.... I'm going to bed because I'm beat!! I'll see you tomorrow twin sisterfriend!!
sleep well

Ces said...

Arija, I think you felt my vibes. I was thinking of you all day yesterday.

Goodnight Manon. Sweet dreams, Sleep tight.

Arija said...

Be reasonable dear! Why should you thinking of me make me feel sad?????

Marie S said...

I love that Manon is a crier too.
Now I don't feel so bad!
And you too, I see!!
Drinking is a wonderful idea.
LOL!! Just kidding, but a good belt of scotch tonight might be a very good idea. Thanks!!!

Ces said...

They were good vibes! I was thankful and happy.

Marie, I think Manon has snotless cries. I cry like a mezzo soprano. How about you? Actually I cry like a rapper. That's the only time I sing rap music - when I am angry. You should have heard me last night! If someone recorded me, it would be a best seller - Gagsta Ces!

Marie S said...

Gangsta Ces, now I am snorting and crying, laughing hysterically. I now have a visual!!! LOL!!!

I cry almost soundlessly with waterfalls of tears...like niagara!!

Ces said...

Oh Marie, I hope this is just a conversation about crying and whatever it is that made you cry, I hope it is resolved.

You are a multi-talented crier:
Snorting-laughing-crying, I am sure sniffling too.

In my experience that is the time to go shopping...or eat chocolates, excuse me, I need to find the chocolates...

Ces said...

Goodnight ladies, I have to go and start packing my nuts for shipment tomorrow. Hehehe. (Acorn drawings). Thank you for the bloggermance!

Marie S said...

There was nothing to resolve. I was having a good cry!!
I was honored, flattered, and humbled by being part of such a beautiful tribute and award and I cried for joy!!

Oh a chocoholic!

I think I will stick with the scotch!! LOL!!
I am going to toast a couple in your honor!!

Baino said...

Another award! Thanks honey. I don't deserve them really but Arija is wonderful. Oddly, I don't think I've ever commented on her site but I do visit, love her garden. She lives in a very beautiful part of the world. It looks like we share restless sleep these days.

Tessa said...

Ces, it's just absolutely jaw-droppingly amazing. The way in which you reach out and draw people into your warm and generous embrace. The way in which you grant us strength, make us laugh, make us think more deeply. The way in which you steer us into believing in ourselves. The way in which you help us to recognise our foibles and insecurities. And most of all the way you help us understand the true meaning of friendship. I truly love you to bits and pieces...even though I've never even met you in real life. Thank you for this award - it will be treasured, as are the other wonderful accolades I've been so very lucky to have received from you.

And guess what! I've ordered a sapling oak to plant in our new garden. It's an English Oak(Quercus robur), which is a wonderfully rugged and very handsome deciduous tree which provides a rich habitat for other plants and is a valuable source of food for wildlife. It's a large tree with 'a broad head of spectacularly spreading branches filled with small clusters of catkins and flower spikes each spring' - followed by masses of acorns in lovely autumn tints of bright yellow and russet brown. I'm going to call it 'Queen Ces'. Oh yes I am! It will be my very own Magic Faraway Tree.

PS. I expect you know that the Irish name for oak is duir, which is often translated as door, a doorway to our inner beings and spirituality?

Ces said...

Ohmarie,okay.That's quite taxing on the organs to cry from happiness, no? I remember I did cry the first time I went home to my parents after having been to America. I just sobbed. That was wonderful.

Baino, I don't know how to explain these awards other than I give them to the bloggers I like and love. Is that not enough? You of all people, my dearest Baino! Tsup! Arg! Yes you deserve this award, very much so!

Ces said...

Oh Tessa! Tessa! Tessa! You have undone me now. I am quivering. I have in front of me an image of the Quercus robur and have already illustrated it but I will do it again.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for naming the sappling "Queen Ces." What great honor that I do not deserve for I am just a mere doodler of trees, leaves and nuts.

I thank you very much. What a lovely lovely start to my week. I have already determined this was going to be ordinary and mundane just to ease my heart and you erased it and made it so special and lifted me up and now I'll be walking and smiling for no reason, the way people who had great sex the previous night do, all because of the Quercus robur. See what makes me happy - tall hard wood and nuts. What a lovely day it is!

Vanessa Brantley Newton said...

Ces, Ces, Ces!!!! If you where her my dear beautiful, loving, hilarious, and talented sister friend, I would hug you till you turned purple!! Oh my love how absolutely honored am I to be counted in with there fine woman you have chosen. God bless you for you kindness and sweetness that make this life a little bit sweeter. And this is why I love you so, but then this is why we ALL love you so. You are not just a nurse of the natural, but one also of the spirit! There is such healing in your artwork and you wonderful humor. Laughter maketh like medicine and does good for the soul and body. Thanks so much my sister. Thanks again and again.

Ces said...

Vanessa! Dear sweet sisterfriend! I missed you. I am in arush. I am literally running out da door so I will come back and read you again, you have a new avatar. Tsup baby, have a great day! Mwah!

Sarah said...

Oh Ces it is beautiful!! Congratulations...well deserved!!! What a lovely award!! Hugs, Sarah

Sarah said...

I'm tired and meant to add - that Arija is so deserving of this - beautiful Ces!!

Kaili said...

Ces you are loving and generous and creative all in one. You are definitely a friend to treasure. I don't know Arija, but she must be the best of people to deserve such a compliment from you! So Lovely :)

Deborah said...

Renee said it all so well. You, Ces, are one of the most generous women I have ever known. Your talent is beyond words, for your art is constantly evolving, daily. I wish I could explain what you have done for me by including me in the Secret Society of Oaks...you have given me such a gift of life. My life is richer because of you. Thank you my sisterfriend, with all of my heart. **blows kisses** Deb

Caroline said...

Oh my gosh - another award. I'm not sure that I deserve this.... but I'll take it anyway!! I haven't met Arija, so thank you so much for introducing her to me. You are the most generous blogger ever!

ValGalArt said...

I am stunned with the amount of work you produce in short periods of time! Sad to hear about your glaucoma but my John has it and they seem to have control of the pressure now for quite a few years. I hope you will be alright. It is so strange that so many medications that are supposed to help have side effects such as depression. I am amazed at all these creatures you have created and thank you for including me in this award, you are awesome!

Kathiesbirds said...

I am only getting to know Arija but I know her as a women with an open and loving heart. How kind of you to design this award for her. She truly deserves it. I am so glad you have her in your life. I am so glad she shares herself with the rest of us! I'm so glad you do too!

BT said...

Now I know I left a comment here before, where has it gone? Have you eaten me? I am a Bakewell Tart after all. I am so proud to have received this wonderful award Ces, and to be in the company of such exalted ladies. Thank you thank you, it's beautifully drawn too. Wonderful.

Lynn said...

I came her via Caroline.
Your art is stupendous.
Beautiful award and loved reading about your wonderful mother.
Bravo to her too.