In the beginning there was the dendrite. And it was good.
At least as far as fleshy, water filled life was concerned on planet Earth.
And it continues to be about this.
More examples in these photos...
The dendrites I am most fascinated with are the ones in my body.
They enable me to feel, and sense the world - it hinges on this branching circuitous, undulating curviness that inhabits my body— pervades, infuses it. Every tube, channel, system follows one of these patterns. I am perfused with dendrites, running solidly through me. I am a dendritic creature.
Next time you're out for a walk in the park, sitting in the backyard, or even gazing at the plant on your desk. Look for the dendrites, hunt them out and appreciate them - celebrate them - reach out and touch them and sense them and know that without them - life would not be life. THat this is the shape of connection- of biophilia — of mutual attraction.
It is through the dendrite that nature exhibits its love for itself, that all exchanges are made.
I think of my lungs.
I am using them as I write this and you yours as you read. Inhale…. exhale… inhale…. exhale. . . my autonomic nervous systems making it all possible. I am "being breathed".
And on and on and in and out the air flows. Of course our lungs are packed with bronchioles - micro channels, filling and expelling a mixture of oxygen, nitrogen, co2 and other gasses that make up Earth's air.
Clear breathing is one of my deep pleasures. I am grateful for my breath. I am conscious of it. . .
When I was eight years old I developed asthma...
...and became more aware of air's journey into and out of my body through my bronchioles. I would imagine them loosening up, effortlessly filling with air as my chest relaxed, and blood returned, causing them to become pink again. Sometimes the visualizations worked - other times not. There were inhalers to use.
My folks were splitting up at the time and I believe my asthma's arrival was related to this. The container of my childhood was changing drastically and my body was reacting by clamping down on airflow. It was frightening. And I still sometimes have difficulty breathing. . . usually when I get anxious I start yawning and feel like I cannot get enough air. . . Scary.
To bring this back to my and your connection to our larger body consider the branching, dendritic patterns found in our friends, the Trees. See them in your minds eye and travel from their bases, up their trunks - now to the branches, spreading until finally out to the bushy masses of twiggy fingers, spreading out — reaching into the sky.
And sprouting from the ends of the thinnest of woody twigs come the leaves and within the leaves - the veins and the sub veins and sub sub veins down to the smallest, hair like filamental channels along which the tide of sugar surges and pulses - fruits of the solar-powered food factory that is photosynthesis.
And also on the leaves there are the stomata - the openings - the mouths of our plant brethren. It is through these tiny orifices that gasses are exchanged - the CO2 exhaled by me for example is inhaled through the stomata in the trees leaves - gratefully inhaled - what is my waste the tree inhales hungrily and uses it as fuel for the creation of the sugary syrup through photosynthesis and then the oxygen, a tree waste product is exhaled out of the leaf - which I then breathe in. Luscious rich oxygen - the expelled gasses of tree metabolism. Tree farts.
As I look up into the bushy branching dendritic, chloriphyllic green, juicy, lush thrivingness that is a tree ...
...I am looking into the other half of my lungs. Bronchioles for me and stomata and vascular canals for the leaves of the tree - I exhale, she inhales, she exhales I inhale - it is a sensuous connection - my moist exhale is inhaled by the tree and her moist and fecund exhale is inhaled by me. Moisty to moisty. That's sensuality.
Sometimes when I am engaged in a tree-hug...
...I will look up into the crown and visualize a gentle, consistent rain of Oxygen settling down upon me and the ground at the base of the tree, just piling up all over the place— somettimes I feel like I'm knee deep in it.. That's what's happening. I inhale deeply with my head back and then bring my head slowly back down to look directly into the bark, exhaling now, powerfully into the trunk of the tree, imagining stomata in the bark (even though I know there are none there- its part of the visualization) - then I bring my head back turning my face upward and into the gentle shower of oxygen. I inhale again as the cords on the front of my neck stretch back. My lungs fill with the sweetness.