I don’t consider myself an environmentalist so not a tree hugger in the general sense of the term. However, I am fascinated by trees. I think we take them for granted as if they will always be there. The trees near where I grew up and those near where I live now are like old comforting familiar friends. Even back when I lived in the college dorms and when I lived in the various apartment complexes in the city, I took notice of the surrounding trees.
When I was a child, I climbed trees. I swung from ropes attached to trees. I hid from the hot sun beneath the sheltering shade of the trees. I fussed at the trees when it was my turn to be responsible to water them or trim them. I cut the dead trees up for firewood and played game around the bases of the live one. I grew up with trees that we planted when I was a child and watched mature trees grow larger and more stately.
As an adult, I may no longer climb trees or play around their bases. However much of the rest still applies. In addition, I appreciate them for the individuality and their artistic beauty. I notice as they change through the seasons and realize how important they are to balancing the circle of life that I benefit from. Many of these trees have been fixtures in my life. They have such long life spans, that I have come to expect that they would remain for years to come.
This past few years have been cruel to the trees. Drought, floods, and even disease have taken their toll. It seems that this past year has been particularly tough in the way of losing tree after tree that I grew up with and those that I expected to grow old with. These aren’t small trees either but large stately mature trees. It’s almost as bad as losing a beloved family pet. Sad.