The line was at the Early Voting station – the tree was along the sidewalk where we waited to enter the building. The beauty all around us was in full display here: maple trees had been planted near an unremarkable building that was fronted by an unappealing (and noisy) road, breaking up the inorganic surroundings with their organic exuberance. Looking up, I saw bright oranges and yellows against a cerulean backdrop…not just dull gray concrete and vehicles driving by. It was a welcome visual treat.
I think every person should have access to trees – to enjoy, to touch, to revere. Sadly, I know that some people don’t…and I have lived in places with very few trees, stunted creatures that did their best to survive surrounded by concrete, blanketed by pollution, and subjected to abuse and neglect. They still put forth their hopeful leaves and continued reaching toward the sun – and making oxygen for the people too preoccupied to notice them, let alone appreciate them.
I vastly prefer living, as I do now, in a place with trees. I find it difficult (if not impossible) to feel angry or stressed when looking up into the leafy canopy, shielded from the sun’s rays. It’s quiet and soothing there. Birds sing from the branches, nests hidden high above. Under the tree, it’s almost a different world.
Learn more about the health – and other – benefits of trees here.
Through the vicissitudes of life, when uncertainty and turmoil further erode the fragile veneer of civilization, the trees stand watch. They were here before us and will be here after us. Despite our (humans’) attempts to destroy them – cutting, burning, poisoning – they persist. I celebrate them, bathing in their resilience and quiet energy, and I’m thankful that there are still trees to be enjoyed.
Now may be an opportune moment to spend some time with a gentle arboreal giant…may you find peace in these trying times.
I love the pine trees that grow on our property. There aren’t many, and they’re old and look like they’ve had difficult lives, but they’re stunning, nonetheless. The gnarled, raised bark begs to be touched…but for the pitch! For me, the smell of warm pine needles and pitch evoke good memories of camping in the mountains in the summer, surrounded by towering pines and the most heavenly clean air. Thank you, trees, for playing such a vital part in humans’ survival on this planet!
For those who like hidden meanings…do you know someone like this, whose scars and evidence of suffering are visible? And, even in a society that places such importance on physical beauty, is a truly lovely individual?
If you have hedge apple trees (also called Osage Orange), you know about the long, sharp thorns. It makes sense that it was once used as natural fencing – who or what would dare push through that? Having tangled with it more than once, I keep this particular tree pruned back so that none of the spines are at eye level (!), yet leave enough branches to create an aerial predator-unfriendly shelter for the fowl (though those thorns can also get stuck in their feet and result in bumblefoot). I consider this a truce of sorts, being extremely loath to cut down any trees.
For those who like to look for hidden meanings in poetry – as I do – perhaps this poem could also be metaphorical. Who knows?