“A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.” – John Muir –
The city where I live is encircled by hills where trees stand along the ridges like silent sentinels. In full foliage they throw their shadows over the streets and give us protection from the heat of the sun. In fall their brilliant colour cheers the heart and makes saying good bye to warm weather a little less mournful. During winter with their branches frosted or ice laden a sense of fantasy and wonder is instilled. And in spring the first green shoots enliven us and breathe new life into our days. I love looking to the hills and to the trees.
Outside the city lays acres of untouched forest that bid me to come explore. I have always felt an attraction and affinity for trees. When I was a child I loved climbing trees – from their great heights I felt less small and insignificant. Now I stand at the base of the giant of the forest and feel minuscule – a mere speck in the universe as I ponder the tree’s age and wonder about all it may have experienced in its long life. I think about all the small creatures it shelters and all the birds that have nested here. ‘Grandfather’ I have named it, for it seems to harbor wisdom that only the eldest human might possess.
In my culture trees take pride of place at least once a year as we decorate them for the great feast of Christmas, when friends and family gather to share love and goodwill. Quiet moments staring at the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree are moments that link the years like a strand of brightly coloured beads.
Personally every time of year is a good time to celebrate trees in my book. For what can be more beautiful or graceful than the weeping willow or more statuesque than the Douglas fir? Trees of maple, oak, and birch that shed their leaves upon the earth creating a wondrous tapestry; Evergreens that comfort us with their greenery, even in the depths of winter; Trees give us oxygen, a means to keep warm, and shelter us from all life’s storms. What greater friend can we have than a tree?