Trees, the earth’s largest and longest-lived plant forms, are Nature’s gift to us. They provide for our sustenance – giving us fire, fruit, shade, shelter, medicine and soil enrichment – and they beautify our environment.  Fittingly, trees symbolize qualities such as wisdom, fertility, courage or strength in many cultural traditions,  For some people, trees offer solace, for others, they represent on-going life and for others, they are enlarge the definition of ‘community’.

Wendell Berry, novelist and essayist, sees trees from this last perspective, "You've got to understand what kind of creature a tree is… they have to receive from us certain deference, a certain respect, as we would extend to any neighbor." When trees are seen as our neighbors, commingling in everyday life, they become a part of our family, standing as silent sentinels, growing amidst – and despite - the tumult of human activity.

 It is the idea of a tree as ally and protective presence that stirs my imagination and compels me to ‘talk to the trees’.

  I have special trees that I like to speak with and I visit them again and again. One of my favorites is a grand Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) near the Library building of the  NY Botanical Garden.. At any time of year, I can walk beneath its spreading boughs and feel a sense of lightness envelop me. The peace and serenity of a Katsura tree  permeates the atmosphere with a palpable energy. 

Eckhart Tolle writes in his book, Stillness Speaks, “When you look at a tree and perceive its stillness, you become still yourself.”

  In my case, it is more than being still, it is a true communion. The energies of the trees buoy me up when I need it the most.  They are our overlooked ally in times of need.  Do you have a tree that you visit? I would really like to know...


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