It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bottle Trees

I've read about bottle trees and seen pictures of these captivating works of fun art, but until recently I had never seen a real live bottle tree.  The first one was discovered by total surprise, stumbling through the open doors of a business in Fredericksburg, Texas while walking around there one Saturday in early January.
This indoor tree had been created in an effort to make the public aware that Fredericksburg's glass re-cycling facility had been closed.

I don't remember how many bottles are in the tree, but it is many!
My second encounter with an actual bottle tree was on my recent road trip.  While in Jackson I visited the Mississippi Craft Center where they had various forms of art displayed outside the main entrance, including a bottle tree display.

The history behind bottle trees is as interesting as the trees themselves, going back to around 1600 B.C, shortly after hollow glass vessels first appeared in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Stories started circulating about spirits living in them, an idea that is attributed to the whistling sound made by blowing over the mouth of the bottle..

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Legends are told that the bottles lure and trap evil spirits to keep them from entering a house; the roaming spirits are thought to be destroyed by the morning sunlight. Glass used on early bottle trees was often blue because of the color’s association with water, which was thought to repel spirits.
Along Mississippi roads you'd now and then see bottle trees; you'd see them alone or in crowds in the front yard of remote farmhouses. I photographed one - a bare crape myrtle tree with every branch of it ending in the mouth of a colored glass bottle - a blue Milk of Magnesia or an orange or green pop bottle; reflecting the light, flashing its colors in the sun, it stood as the centerpiece in a little thicket of peach trees in bloom.
Eudora Welty, One Writer's Beginnings, p.85.

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