I Love Trees

I am, and have been for a long time a “tree hugger.”

Being a teenager in the 60s, I was a “flower child” of sorts. I loved living things and nature. I have always had a special bond with trees.

Large fallen tree still leafing.
Large fallen tree still with leaves.

Trees are a life form I love and respect. These sentinels of nature have “seen” history in the making, provided lumber for building the boats that made history, homes that housed historical people and events for centuries. Trees hold the records of the effects of climate changes recorded in their rings.

Trees are more like people than we realize. Think about it. They have seedlings, which often grow in the shade of their “parent tree.” If the seeds land too close to the parent tree, they may not grow at all or may grow up spindly and tall. Their height increases as quickly as possible to reach the sun’s light to help compensate for the lack of nutrients in the soil when there are other trees growing practically on top of them.

Some of the little ones survive but few ever achieve the size or health of their parents if they are rooted at their parents’ “feet.” (Interesting analogy, huh!)  Just like children pampered and sheltered too often from the storms of life who grow up weak and dependent.

Some seeds who are blown by the wind further from their genetic donors, survive better. They are toughened by the hardships they encounter: drought, erosion, pests, weeds, weather.

All kids end up in stressful situations financially or emotionally. If they have established roots firmly in their own personality, received the sunshine of good friends, the nourishment of education or training and periodic support, emotional or otherwise, from their parents, they grow to mature, productive adults. They have developed their own lives, apart from their parent “trees”,  independent of them.

I’ve seen two trees growing from the same trunk and roots. I think of married couples or soul mates when I see these. Their lives are joined but they have two separate lives, talents, interests or jobs, but they go through everything together drawing from the roots of their relationship for strength.

One trunk, two trees
Married trees from same trunk.

Some trees have lost large limbs or become gnarled and twisted by some act of nature or man. As people face the storms of life, war, aging, pain, and loss they too may become gnarled and twisted or lose limbs just like the trees.

Trees, like people, having missed out on some part of their basic needs, or been injured, diseased or unhealthy have the appearance of a physically stressed tree. Some people who have suffered much also show their hardships in their bodies or on their faces.

Some trees have full “heads” of leaves with a beautiful skeleton of branches, these trees have weathered the same storms just like other trees but something gives them the strength they need to flourish and survive. Some people are like these trees and make the best of bad situations. Growing from the circumstances they encounter instead of internalizing their environment.

Occasionally a huge oak or other full-grown tree is uprooted by the winds of a tornado or storm. You may have seen the bottom of a tree exposed but half of the roots still connected to the soil. The tree that has lost their root system will die. We all need to have “roots” of some kind to help us get through the hard times.

Other trees get blown over and rest on the limbs or trunks of another tree, their roots still barely connected to the earth. These trees continue to put out green leaves, still clinging to life, while supported by their neighbors.

Interestingly there are people who, even though their lives have been torn apart by pain, bad decisions or someone else, bounce back with time and keep on living and growing; supported by the love of their family or community, yet living on their own root system.

They seem to gain from the bad experiences and go on with their lives, wiser and stronger. Then there are those who can’t ever get back up to their previous level of health or happiness and need the continuing support of their family, being unable to contribute or not having anything they can contribute to those around them. Some of these people have been so traumatized that they lack the skills to survive on their own.

Trees go through the different seasons. We start out as seedlings in the spring or beginnings of our lives, like seeds growing their roots, we develop the “roots” of basic survival skills like walking and talking. In the summer we begin to experience more of life as we go to school, get married, and live life as adults.

Pink Dogwood
Pink dogwood in bloom.

Then fall begins and we may experience a slowing in the pace of our lives. We retire, enjoy the fruits of our labors hopefully. As the trees’ sap retreats from their tops causing the leaves to turn, likewise as we grow older, our blood flow diminishes and we start to show the aging process with graying hair and wrinkles.

Backyard view.
Golden fall trees in the backyard of my old home..

Last is winter, when the trees “hibernate” storing their nutrients for next spring, looking bare and dead but still very much alive. We also enter a winter in our lives. We, hopefully, will have “very much alive”active minds, even though our bodies may grow older and more frail. We will prepare ourselves for the new life that will come when we pass on.

March 09 070                                               Dogwood in winter

In the winter of their lives some elderly people seem to not be present in the here and now, suffering some form of dementia, but I wonder where their minds may be when they sit quietly and stare. I want to believe they are reliving or remembering events from their lives. Who knows?

We, like trees and every other living thing, have our own cycle of life. It is good to love and live and see and smell and taste and walk and move. We all need to remember how fortunate we are while we are able to enjoy life and go out and look for the beauty and lessons to be learned by our neighbors in nature. One last thing: Go hug a tree and look up into its branches and feel a sense of wonder and kinship.

How about a big ole hug!
How about a big ole hug!

28 thoughts on “I Love Trees

    1. Thank you for your kind words. Tree hugger was an expression from my late teenaged years. Actually is used to mean a fanatic who protested are was an activist for the environment and especially trees. I don’t think of it as an insult like it was used many years ago because now people are seeing how important our environment is. I do love nature and try not to kill harmless insects in my home. I also have actually hugged a few trees in my life too! lol

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Beautiful post, I love trees too!! There is nothing better than a blanket under a big tree on a beautiful spring day, peering up through the branches and letting your mind wander. Perhaps I shall try it today, thanks for the inspiration.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I really enjoyed this post. What a wonderful analogy or metaphor for life and relationships. It brought to mind the ruins in Angkor Wat in Cambodia where the trees have reclaimed the temple ruins and the roots have grown down and over the ancient buildings. This particular group of temples has not been restored or recovered so visitors can see how it looks. This too is a good parallel with people who have suffered in their lives and have grown again to reach the light above and beyond the scars of their suffering. Thanks for this post. It has set a good tone for the rest of my day!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So glad you enjoyed the post! What a great additional insight!! Thank you! You are the second person to say that! You certainly set the tone for my day too! I really appreciate your comments and insights, Anne.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Well the first tree was on somoeone else’s property far away from where I moved to. But I considered it a welcoming tree to see it’s low-lying limb down where people could sit on it and enjoy the river. The home I left for where I am now had those glorious golden leaves. I loved their beauty and the squirrels and birds I saw often. The dogwood in different seasons was one I passed frequently and admired if’s graceful limbs clothed for each season. But the last tree on the post seemed the most friendly by looking for a hug. I forgot to post the picture of me hugging one of the old trees at Jamestown, VA! I will add that now! I checked out your site and follow you now on Facebook. I used to have plants African violets, Pothos, a jade plant or two, (and had to treat them for mealy bugs). I had a little bonsai elm(?) tree I found. But soon found out it was infested with whiteflies! I hated to let that tree go outside. Now at my age and with my back, I just enjoy the wild trees that grow below my condo.Good to know there are others out there who love plant life too.

      Liked by 1 person

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