|On a morning walk in my woods in the summertime.|
Tomorrow is Arbor Day. The Arbor Day Holiday was founded in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton, and The Arbor Day Foundation was founded one hundred years later in 1972 by John Rosenow with a mission “to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.” The foundation is supported by donations, selling trees and merchandise, and by corporate sponsors. In Nebraska City the Foundation manages Arbor Day Farm It’s a National Historic Landmark; the estate J. Sterling Morton, and is an educational visitor attraction. One of the programs the Foundation supports is The Tree City USA program which is co-sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service. It has grown to include 3080 towns, cities and military bases in all 50 states. I think we all know, or should know, how important trees are to our ecosystem. They help clean up the carbon and pollution in the air and furnish us with oxygen. Trees furnish us with fruits and nuts to eat and for wild animals, too. Unfortunately, not only our reliance on fossil fuels, but with the cutting down of many of our forests to make room for malls, buildings, homes and highways we have a serious problem with global warming.
|I planted the dogwood blooming and the Japanese Maple.|
I love trees. I’ve always loved trees; oaks, maples, pines, beech, apple, dogwoods and too many others to name here. When I was a little girl, I was a champion tree climber. I could climb faster and higher than my brother and my cousins. Once I climbed a maple tree at least thirty feet up until I got to the thinner branches. One of them couldn’t support me and I fell hitting each branch until I reached the ground. Although I probably sustained a few bruises in the fall, I wasn’t seriously hurt. As a teenager, I’d climb a hollow willow tree near my grandparents’ house and settle comfortably in a crotch to read on lazy summer days.
|My backyard seen from my backsteps.|
One of the things that attracted me to the old house I bought twenty-five years ago was the trees around it, including an old weeping willow tree. Unfortunately, the willow tree is no more, but I did plant another weeping willow not quite as close to the house, and in the slightly more than twenty years since it was planted, it’s grown quite large. Yes, they can be a messy tree, but so graceful and beautiful. The trees around my house, mostly pine and spruce, keep my house cool in the summer and protect it a little from winter winds. They’re also home for the birds. My house came with old apple trees that still produce apples for my ponies, chickens and me, and over the years other apple trees have appeared and are now producing apples, too. I’ve planted magnolias, dogwoods, Japanese Maples, pears, sweet gum, crabapples and other trees, also.
|One of my two sisters on a camping trip we took last year.|
All my camping trips with siblings and my youngest daughter are in forests. I like bodies of water, too; oceans, lakes, rivers and ponds. They’re interesting for a short while, but give me a babbling brook running through a forest anytime. There is always something new and interesting to discover in forests, even in my small woods where I walk almost every day. Once I heard Carolyn Hart in an interview at Malice say she was uncomfortable in forests. She much preferred the open spaces of her home state of Oklahoma. Just as she can’t imagine being without wide open spaces, I can’t imagine not having trees around me.
Most years I contribute to the Arbor Day Foundation and get some small seedlings sent to plant. In spite of already having many trees, every year I add new ones; a crabapple here, a magnolia there or maybe a Japanese Maple, an evergreen of some sort or some other tree. They don’t all make it, but those that do, delight my heart. Recently I bought a Manchurian cherry tree. Will it make it? I don’t know, but I don’t have one so I’m hoping it will. Did I mention that I love trees?
|Hiking in the Allegheny Mountains of NW Pennsylvania.|
How do you feel about trees and/or forests?