I have never met a tree that I did not like. In fact, there is something about them that takes my breadth away. The budding in Spring, the flowering in Summer, the color bursts of Fall, and their barren branches throughout all of Winter – all stages amaze me. Simple, complicated, tall, small, evergreen, deciduous, alive, dead – I like them all.
Though I do not live in the heart of a forest, I am fortunate to have a south facing bedroom window that overlooks the woods. Every morning and night, I take a peek at the trees – just to see what is happening. Yet, the time spent double-checking those trees twice a day for 30+ years still hasn’t helped me with my general tree knowledge. I have no idea what type of trees are out there – perhaps oak, or maybe maple, possibly walnut. I’m just not sure. Dendrology isn’t my forte.
I know much simpler details. I know they have grown. I know there are young ones and old ones. I know their noise, and I know their quiet. I just like them, all.
Growing up in suburbia America, my family had their fair share of trees. There was the token large tree in the front yard, the evergreen trees that lined the house, and the three or four trees strategically planted in the back yard for shade. As a child, I absolutely abused those back yard trees – climbing, building, hacking, pushing, breaking. I did everything to those trees, but appreciate them.
Now, I do.
I enjoy the quiet they bring – not in terms of sound, but in terms of life. There is something about walking through snow covered trees in the middle of winter – alone. It is more than quiet. It is calm and peaceful – two sensations that are normally difficult to achieve simultaneously but easy for me to find with winter trees. They offer no words of wisdom. They speak only metaphorically. But for some reason their calm and peaceful quiet always provides a crazy-fun adventure.
I enjoy how they depict time – their uncanny ability to show me the circle of life in just a short twelve months. With trees, I am reminded each year of how life moves from green to brown to bare to rebirth – a microcosm of the human lifespan. From them, I am reminded that time is more than hours, days, weeks. Time = seasons. Not sure why I like this thought: I just do.
I enjoy what I have learned about anticipation. I anxiously await the blooming of the Bradford Pear trees that ring my college campus in Spring, and the show of color in the back yard woods each Fall, and even the gloomy bark-only look of those same trees in Winter. I believe I enjoy the time of anticipation nearly as much as the time of arrival.
I know that in my wonderings about trees that I have certainly learned a little. I have learned that there is beauty and majesty in most everything, that the world right outside my back window is utterly amazing, that the simplest of objects can cause the most complex of thoughts, that I clearly have way too much time on my hands, and am thankful that I do.
Happy New Year