“When you know that trees experience pain and have memories and that tree parents live together with their children, then you can no longer just chop them down and disrupt their lives with large machines.”
–Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees
Being a Mainer, I love trees too much to live in a place without them. All my life I have been surrounded by trees—first in a neighborhood, then in the country, and now in a small forest.
Around our home we have tall dark pines, massive oaks, solid maples that blaze in the fall, and slender beeches that keep their leaves all through the winter. When I sit on my patio and look up through the tree branches, I feel as though the trees are holding me.
Trees tell the story of the seasons. They harbor birds and give shelter to many other creatures. They provide food, oxygen, and shade. According to the writer Peter Wohlleben trees are even able to form a kind of society.
Why are trees such social beings? Why do they share food with their own species and sometimes even go so far as to nourish their competitors? The reasons are the same as for human communities: there are advantages to working together. A tree is not a forest. On its own, a tree cannot establish a consistent local climate. It is at the mercy of wind and weather. But together, many trees create an ecosystem that moderates extremes of heat and cold, stores a great deal of water, and generates a great deal of humidity. And in this protected environment, trees can live to be very old.
On a deep, psychological level, trees give us rich material for myths and stories, and Arthur Rackham’s illustration is a haunting example of this.
And who could forget Tolkien’s ents, sentient creatures that lived in a slow time of their own?
Is it too much to claim that trees embody the life-force of the planet? Not for this tree lover.
Therefore in honor of Earth Day, here are a few pictures of trees through the seasons, in my yard and around town.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
And now for a complete change of tone. Shannon is our Earth-Day daughter, born on April 22 many years ago. This is a hard time for celebrating much of anything. Therefore I am posting a picture of happier times, when our dear Liam was just a puppy and Shannon was having a jolly trot with him along the public beach in town. Makes me smile just to look at it. Happy, happy birthday, Shannon.
54 thoughts on “Earth Day 2020: In Celebration of Trees”
Awww, that’s a great picture. I like those tree photos. The trees really do help us, and sometimes I think of the things they’ve experienced over time.
Thanks so much! I would be bereft without trees.
Thank you!! 🎉🎉🎂🎂 Liam was the most adorable of puppies! Such joy in his face!
Happy birthday, Shannon!
Always ready for a lark.
A lovely tribute for Earth Day Laurie and what a blessing to live among these beautiful trees. Happy birthday wishes for Shannon too and hopefully you will be able to celebrate together before too long 💚 xxx
What beautiful words! And I love the snow photo, even now in April. Best wishes for your daughter.
Such beautiful tree photos, Laurie. And such wonderful words. I’m sure this is the best Earth Day ever, for our Earth. We are finally all behaving ourselves and not polluting her at a rate she cannot bear.
Happy birthday to Shannon!
Thanks, Jodie. Wish we could learn to scale back on our own.
WIshing a happy and meaningful Earthday right back to you! 😀
Thank you for mentioning Ents. They always seemed possible to me — at least in the long. long ago. Sometimes I have to give a gnarly old oak or maple a second look. And then I wonder …
I would keep an eye on them. 😉
I wasn’t thinking of Earth Day, particularly, today. But, I did dig 4 holes (about 3 feet in diameter), mixed in compost, etc. in preparation for 4 dwarf cherry trees. The Mrs. asked about putting in two. When we looked at the space, I suggested four. Now the two new pawpaws will go around the corner and two crab apples a little beyond them. More holes to dig. – Oscar
A splendid way to spend Earth Day.
HB Shannon! What a great day to born. 🙂 Love the photos with Liam, awww… 🙂
I share your love of trees and cannot imagine living without them, how I love my deciduous forest! They do feel like wise and loving friends. ❤
A special day to have a birthday. Wise and loving friends is a wonderful description.
You’re right. Trees are magnificent beings.
Recently we heard a really interesting talk by an American author, David George Haskell. He has written a book called The Song of Trees with many of the same ideas and themes as Peter Wohlleben. Lovely to see the photos of all your trees in different seasons.
Happy birthday to Shannon, (it is Paul’s birthday on 22nd too) she and Liam look so happy running along together, it brings back memories of our girls with our beloved dog.
I will look up Haskell. Happy birthday to Paul. A special day for a birthday.
Happy birthday wishes to your daughter and wonderful Earth Day this year. Nature is blossoming in its full glory with less interaction of human beings.
Lovely and timely post. Hope your daughter had a great birthday.
Thanks so much! A very quiet birthday, but we did get together via Zoom for presents and a chat.
Beautiful post. I love the red tree. Our trees turn yellow in fall.
Thanks for reminding us of the importance of trees in the life of the world.
Beautiful photos all Laurie but I must confess to my favourite one having a puppy in it. 😉
Puppies are hard to beat. 😉
A lovely pain for trees – and birthday photograph. I have always enjoyed Arthur Rackham’s trees.
Thanks, Derrick. Rackham was a master.
I knew what you meant. 🙂
You know I love trees too! I found Peter Wollheben’s book inspiring too. Lovely photos and a lovely daughter.
Thanks so much! There are a lot of us tree lovers out there.
Happy Earth Day and Happy Birthday to your daughter. Special memories keep us warm during these challenging times. 🙂
Thanks, Judy! They sure do.
A Happy Belated Birthday to Shannon!
A beautiful selection of tree pictures and I love Arthur Rackham’s illustration, Laurie. And yes, the Ents were among my favorite Tolkien characters. 🙂
Thanks, Lavinia. So many artists and writers are drawn to trees.
I’ve just realised that when you sent me off searching about the Hidden Life of Trees, I never made it back! Your seasonal pictures are lovely. I’ve long liked Arthur Rackham’s work, but have never read Tolkein, so don’t know the Ents.
I’m sending a belated happy birthday to your sweet Earth Day girl!
Thanks, Susan! And it’s never to late to read Tolkien. 😉
I have read that some trees communicate through their roots and actually do form communities. We live in town, but in a very leafy neighborhood. We have pecans (the gift that keeps on giving, all year round, or as a friend says, “pecans are self-pruning”) and a huge elm in our neighbor’s yard, over our fence, directly. over. the. pool. The pool guy wants to go chop it down. But I still love them and can’t imagine our yard without the trees, and all the birds and squirrels that live in them.
Lots of neighborhoods have trees, thank goodness. Trees can, at times, seem inconvenient. Yet what would we do without them?
Loved your Earth Day celebration of trees with the beautiful quotes and photos and the wonderful photo to celebrate your daughter’s birthday!🙂
Many thanks! That photo of Shannon and Liam sure makes me smile.
A belated Happy Birthday to Shannon and a joyous Earth Day to you, Laurie! I have Peter Wohlleben’s book but haven’t got around to reading it yet.
Thanks, Clare. I actually haven’t read his book, but it is on my short list. I came upon an article with the quotations I shared.
I loved trees as a child and named them. I talked to them naturally . . I still do. The social aspect of trees fascinates me. So does their beauty. Happy birthday Shannon!
Naming them! What a charming, wonderful thought. Yes, the social aspects of trees is fascinating.
Birthday wishes to your daughter.
A wonderful post. I love my walks in woods as it is a rejuvenating experience.
Thanks, Rupali. I think many of us are tree lovers.
I think so too.
Happy Arbor Day! And happy earth day to Shannon!
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