For the Love of Trees
My earliest memory is of a tree. Perhaps three or four, I skittered along the sidewalk, hand in hand with dad on smooth gray slates. He stopped, pointing to the canopy towering over us – uprooted slab beneath our feet, dappled trunk near to me and round-ish lilly pad leaves spreading above. This is a sycamore, he said.
Not soon after that, another tree came to favor on the dog-eared page of a small book called A Friend is Someone Who Likes You. This was a book letting me know – for the first time – that a tree could be a friend.
Much later, travel far away for my undergrad degree had me learn– perhaps a bit late – that there was such a major as forestry. I imagined that to be a wonderfully fascinating pursuit.
I reminisce about the sugar maple that grew up with us through the years. It was likely a young adult when we first met it, and it held a canopy over our backyard wiffle-ball games for years, shielding us from summer sun and providing leafy landing pads for legions of fireflies at night. When it had to go for threat of its immensity overhanging the garage, I kept a section of the trunk – a tribute to the loss of a friend.
Most recently, I saw two black and white silhouette-style pictures juxtaposed: one of branching capillaries in the human lung, and the other of outreaching twiggy tendrils of a tree, spreading from the main trunk. Nearly identical in image but wonderfully distinct in purpose; it inhales what I exhale, and I inhale what it exhales.
Lastly, my mind settles to my favorite spot – the hammock swing floating beneath another canopy in my own back yard. As favorite places go it may not seem like much, but it’s a place to connect to a tree, one more time.