The Traveling Plant: Preparatory Logbook

People were asked, in a caring hosting tradition, to tell the plant what it could expect to experience and to discover along its journey, what and whom (humans and other than humans) it may encounter. Choose a contributor in the menu (v) or browse by following the arrows < >

Mary Derting

The Traveling Tree

Davis, California, USA

What passed through my parent’s minds when they explored this land and you discovered them? I wonder.
500 years old. A giant among giants.
Your sweeping arms encompassing an entire meadow.
An earth to the violets in your dancing shadows.
A galaxy to the myriad webs of hyphae in your roots.
Our name for you is “Big Elm Tree.” We are traveling colonizers who have discovered you.
I wonder if you have a name for us: Macroscopic bacteria, another species passing through your domain.
Every solar return, your shower of thousands rains down into the damp darkness of soil, an army of life.
My parents have only 8 offspring, and I spread my father’s ashes beneath the constellations of your boughs.
Your vast ecosystems circulating beneath your fallen leaves consume him.
Do you taste any difference between his molecules or the molecules in the fungi you feed?
Do you assimilate his short story as you have with the thousands before him? A blink in timelessness.
You have discovered us, great colonizing traveler: with countless others,
A dead beetle,
Fawn droppings,
Butterfly wings
Starved bacteria
Human ashes
Your own opus magnum of the world, chronicled in layers of parenchyma.
Traveling by assimilation.


The Traveling Plant is a collective project created in 2020 by Annick Bureaud, Tatiana Kourochkina, Marta de Menezes, Claudia Schnugg and Robertina Šebjanič, and further developed with the following seed organisations Leonardo/Olats (Paris), Quo Artis (Barcelona and Treviso), Cultivamos Cultura (Lisbon), Sektor Institute (Ljubljana) and the initial support of the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation.