When I was little I was a "bookworm." Not a very good thing to be in those days. My mother would shoo me outside to play. I would circle around to the garage (where I had previously hidden a book), then climb the apple tree in the back yard. Hidden by the leafy branches, I could read Nancy Drew for hours.
Later, in another house, I found a little space under the branches of a huge pine tree. The branches touched the ground all around, but if you crawled underneath at the right place, you were in a wonderful, secret hideaway.
Still later, I climbed a sycamore growing across the street. I climbed and climbed, and was surprised - and a little scared - to find I was looking down at the tops of the telephone poles. That time I was caught, as my mother spied my red jacket high in the branches.
I thought I was moving out of town for the peace and quiet, but now I know it was for the trees. Which leads me to share the book I'm reading. "Like a Tree," by Jean Shinola Bolen, MD.
She starts out defining a tree "person," a tree "lover," and how this turns into a tree "activist." The following excerpts in quotes are hers.
"As I went deeper and deeper into the subject of trees, I entered a complex and diverse forest of knowledge, from archeological to mystical. I learned that we wouldn't be here at all . . . if not for trees."
"Every large tree has an ecosystem of it's own, a sphere of influence in its immediate environment . . . trees are a habitat for the plants, insects, birds and animals in their vicinity, but an even closer bond is formed with the fungi and bacteria that are intimately connected with the metabolism of the tree."
Ms. Bolen goes into detail about how the forest actually makes it's own weather and cleans the air around each tree. She also discusses different types of trees and describes the oldest trees on earth, and how they come to their great age. For instance, there are twenty-four species of trees that live to be over a thousand years old.
"Without trees, Earth would not have a breathable atmosphere, soil for vegetation to grow, or water fit to drink."
"On Vancouver Island, in June, 2010, Hilary Huntley, a young Canadian artist, suddenly became a tree activist when she learned that three majestic Garry oaks were to be cut down for a sports field, and took immediate personal action. She climbed into one of them, determined to thwart the tree cutters, and became the center of a spontaneous community effort to save them."
(Sometimes, you don't know you have activist potential until it hits close to home.)
She goes on to tie her ideas into a global theme, describing the "Green Belt in Kenya," where women learn to plant and care for trees, as well as comparing the economic security of nations who have clear-cut their trees to those who husband their trees wisely.
"Research shows that powerful social and economic changes come about when girls have the opportunity to participate in their society. Adolescent girls are uniquely capable of raising the standard of living in the developing world. When woman and girls earn income, they invest 90 percent of it in their families, as compared to 30 or 40 percent by a man."
"The link between gratitude and service seems to be made more often and easily by people who realize that they are survivors."
"I hope memories and connections come to you as you read my words, and that the realization that you are a tree person will turn out to be significant. What does it mean to be a tree person at this time in history? Might it have to do with participating in the next evolutionary step for humanity?"
So, I recommend this book and hope you enjoyed
seeing some of the trees I live with. Love, Linda