Today is Arbor day, a day that many states celebrate to honor our trees and the planting of them. Trees have always had a fond place in my heart. Really they are something everyone should adore. They offer us many things like shade on a intensely, sunny, hot day, fruits like apples, pears, peaches, and oranges which nurture us, woods and forests we can explore and adventure through, and of course, oxygen. Trees serve us many purposes and are well deserving of a day of celebration.
When I was a child, I grew up next door to a house that had a child my age to play with and a large pine tree. The tree had branches starting just barely off the ground and these branches were distributed well enough that you could climb easily all the way to the top. With all the greenery fresh and full grown, and so many branches available, parents could not see how high you had gone either. These things together made for a perfect childhood playground.
Beyond our houses were miles of woods which we played in daily. There were always salamanders to catch and play with, forts to be built, trees to be climbed, and new paths to be ventured. The woods were a significant aspect of my childhood. I spent more time among those trees than anywhere else. I felt comfortable, happy, and fulfilled there.
These days I wander around different wooded areas, but each one is exciting, rewarding, and valuable to me. I always liked the way you could feel comfortable to be and think anything among the trees. It was really easy to feel like you were in your own world where anything you thought up could be possible. It is just far enough away from the grips of society to be completely your own person and learn more about what you truly believe, see and feel. There is always something moving and living in the trees and undergrowth. This constant ability to notice something new engages the mind, and interests us.
In the second house I spent the later part of my childhood in, we had fruit trees. We hardly ever had an fruit, as the animals ate most of it, but when we did, it was delicious. One day I walked out to see a little line of squirrels. One was at the top of the fruit tree, the other was down a few branches, and the third was on the ground. The one at the top was swinging, jumping, and moving all around collecting the best of the fruit, then passing it to the next squirrel who would run it down low enough for the third squirrel. It was amazing to witness these crazy, clever acrobatics.
I also remember my mom setting up a hammock between two trees which became the perfect place to lounge and read on a warm, peaceful summer’s day. Let’s not forget all the rope swings my dad built using tree branches. Some of them were a little sketchy looking and did not seem entirely stable, but they were all fun and enjoyable.
In the front yard we had a tree with a lower branch that was perfect for jumping into leaf piles in the fall. Trees have always been a great source of entertainment, beauty, usefulness, and comfort. We might not reflect each day on how important trees really are to us, but since it is a day for honoring the trees, I encourage you to think today about all the things these lovely trees provide for you.
Happy Arbor Day! How will you celebrate?