I have always loved being in nature. Tromping through the woods, making faerie houses out of sticks and twigs, branches and leaves, acorn tops, and those little twirly things that flutter down from trees. When my mother couldn’t easily locate me when I was young, she would walk up the street where there was a sort of pocket-park by the library. That was my ‘thinking place’, sitting on the worn wooden picnic table.
I have immersed in natural environs along the Appalachian Trail when I did an Outward Bound Course in January of 1981, when as a 22 year old I spent 10 days cross country skiing, hiking, camping and snowshoeing. I will never be that young and crazy again. These days, more sedate parks are to my liking and there are plenty nearby. Lulled by the language of the wind through the foliage, the sweet smell of grass and flowers, the melting warmth of the sun and the ever changing sky scape, I am at home there.
I love to hug tree-beings and I do see them that way. They are, to me, sentient life forms with a presence that is unlike anything I have ever experienced. I express gratitude when I pass them and one time, was present when during a windstorm, a 60 something foot tall oak tree came crashing down across a driveway of a hospital where I worked, a split second after the thought “Wouldn’t it be something if one of these trees came down?”, crossed my mind. We were that attuned to each other.
That’s one reason that I am celebrating Arbor Day today. It was created in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton, to focus attention on the importance of trees and the need to plant them. In the Jewish tradition, people have trees planted in Israel, in honor of or in memory of someone they love. I can imagine an entire forest for my family.
So, today, as you go out into the world, say thank you for the life of trees who offer shelter, furniture, paper, shade, beauty and oxygen….and while you’re at it, hug one. I imagine it will hug you back.
Photo credit: Tom Osher (This is a tree that was struck by lightning, I believe, and was carried to my friend Stephen Redding’s home called Happy Tree Farm, where he is an arborist. I think of him as being like The Lorax who ‘speaks for the trees’) He then created the step like appearance. I clambered up and watched a bonfire from my perch)