For the Love of Trees

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

This post was first shared close to a year ago. Although it’s a personal favorite, it didn’t get a whole lot of love because, at that time, few folks knew this blog existed. I am reposting it for all my current readers, in an effort to instill the vital importance of trees for each of us.

I grew up on a small farm in the Deep South, surrounded by trees and animals. My family had a couple cows, a few pigs, and lots of chickens. My grandmother, or Mawmaw, as we called her, maintained a huge vegetable garden on one side of her house, and a slightly smaller flower garden on the other side. Her property had several pecan trees, a walnut tree, a fig tree, and apple trees. Each time a grandchild was born into the family, she planted a new tree in her front yard. My birth tree was a magnolia, and even now, the scent of a magnolia blossom makes me swoon.

In those early years, I spent a lot of time climbing trees. It was great fun and I loved the views from above. Recently, I’ve learned to appreciate trees for other reasons. When I checked out of real life and took up traveling for a few years, (see Escaping Normal for more on that!) I discovered that trees were healing. Hiking in a forest or canyon or up a mountain surrounded by redwoods, ponderosa pines, aspens, or birch trees made me feel nurtured. And that’s as true now as before.

Petrified wood in southern Utah

Trees have not been the subject of a great number of scientific studies, although the studies that have been done reveal that their functions are vital for life on the planet. Most of us know that trees produce oxygen, take in harmful carbon dioxide, and provide shelter and food for animals. But after reading Jim Robbins’ The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, Champion Trees, and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet, I’ve learned that trees are more important than I ever imagined. The author, who has written on environmental issues for The New York Times for more than 35 years, asserts that planting trees could in fact be our most important ecotechnology for saving this troubled planet.

According to Robbins, trees absorb not only carbon dioxide, but also various other pollutants that might otherwise end up in our lungs. Their root system can render toxic waste harmless. They can control the distribution of flooding rain and filter searing heat. They generate over 100 chemicals, many in aerosol form, that benefit not only their own species, but sometimes other plants, as well as some animals, including humans.

During my travels, I have witnessed some really unique trees with interesting stories. From the Joshua Tree in the Mojave Desert, to the Great Basin’s ancient Bristlecone Pines, to the Giant Sequoias in California’s Sierra Nevada, the encounters were fascinating and unforgettable.

Joshua Trees inside California’s Joshua Tree National Park

The Joshua Tree is said to have been named by Mormons in the mid-19th century who were trekking through the Mojave Desert in search of a place to settle. The shaggy bark and open branches of the trees seemed to point them toward Utah, reminding them of Joshua from the Bible, who, with outstretched hands, guided the Israelites to Canaan. I couldn’t help but laugh when I first saw these unusual trees; they look like Dr. Seuss creations!

Bristlecone Pine inside Great Basin National Park

In Nevada’s Great Basin National Park, I came upon Bristlecone Pines, which are between 3000 – 5000 years old, making them some of the oldest living trees in the world. Their ability to withstand extremely inhospitable conditions accounts for their longevity. These ancient sentinels produce healthy pine needle clusters within a form that is partially dead. Instead of rotting, their decay-resistant trunks are polished by wind and rain. Even after dying completely, the Bristlecone Pine can remain standing for thousands of years.

Giant Sequoia dwarfing its neighbors inside Sequoia National Park

Giant Sequoias, according to Treehugger.com, can live up to 3000 years, and have branches that are bigger around than the height of 2 humans. Vertically, they can grow up to 300 feet, as high as a 26-30 story building. They can weigh over 2.5 million pounds, and may have a ground circumference of 100 feet. If you have never witnessed these gentle giants first-hand, I strongly encourage it. You’ll gain a new respect for biology! Sequoia National Park in California has some of the largest ones on record.

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. ~E. B. White

Trees work quietly for the betterment of life. Unfortunately, they are disappearing at an alarming rate. In his book, Robbins estimates that 80% of the world’s old-growth forests have been destroyed, and the destruction process continues. Trees and forests, he writes, “are ecosystem engineers that create the conditions for other forms of life to exist on every level.” Their disappearance, often the result of “progress,” may be facilitating the extinction of the human race.

You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. . . . People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. ~Greta Thunberg

Demonstrating love for trees is a great place to start in resolving our ever-worsening environmental problems. If you have kids, talk to them about the importance of trees. Ask them to help you plant and care for some fruit trees or an oak or maple. (BTW, trees increase property value.) Teach your kids to climb trees, or climb with them. Take them to the forest to hike or bike. Visit an apple orchard. Check out state and national parks renowned for their grand species of trees. If you must have a live Christmas tree each year, decorate one in your yard instead of cutting one down. Showing love and respect for trees helps all life forms, and might just prolong our existence on this planet.

In the time when the world is sick and dying, a tribe of people will come together of many races. They will be a people who put their faith in deeds, not words, and the world shall become green again. ~Cree Prophecy

Blessings for the Love of Trees,

Lisa

98 thoughts on “For the Love of Trees

    1. Hi, Bonnie Rae, yes, yes, you must see the Giant Sequoias! You absolutely will not regret it! During my time in the park, I also saw black bears swimming and 2 cinnamon bears: momma & baby! The trees are amazing and the views of the mountains after hiking up the trails are stunning. Thanks for your kind comment. Enjoy your weekend! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Lisa, you have picturised “some really unique trees with interesting stories.From the Joshua Tree in the Mojave Desert, to the Great Basin’s ancient Bristlecone Pines, to the Giant Sequoias in California’s Sierra Nevada,the encounters were fascinating and unforgettable”.Thanks for the beautiful pictures and mesmerizing descriptions😁

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi, Cheryl, I’ve thought of your several times over the past few weeks because I should have included you in my Outstanding Blogger Award nominations. You are a talented & very supportive blogger, and I appreciate you! Thanks for this kind comment. Enjoy your weekend! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Lisa, for your kind words. ❤ I appreciate you thinking of me, but I don't have the energy for awards. At 71 and with health issues, I want to focus on writing poems and interacting with other bloggers. I am trying to put together a book to leave my children. 🙂 Hope your weekend is going well.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m so happy that you reposted this acticle about the importance of trees. What you write is so true. There is a lot we do not know yet about trees. They found out that there is also a form of communitation between tree by means of there root systems. Something thats also knows form plants, fungi and lichen.
    People should have respect for all living creature on earth, that one of the most important values poeple are loosing these days.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is such a beautiful post and I am so struck by your pictures and your words that are so beautifully captured. Wow, did you take these. I wanna say I’ve seen this but all of your posts are so lovely, I may have missed it. Nature our biggest healer that blesses, shelters, wakes us up and gifts us so much with all of it’s rich nutrients anchored into our core and center. I always love hearing your growing up which is so vital to our human development and a far cry from what is happening today.
    Have a beautiful weekend dear friend! 🤗😘

    Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re sooo welcome.. it’s truly amazing those shots.. Ok so I’m getting a anasonic ZS-200 Lumix with Leica lens. It is very portable and LOADED with features…. hoping for better than the iphone with some zoom.. what do you think? i need portable and easy.
        oh honey, I’m gonna try … you too. xo

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Trees are certainly among the greatest living things on the planet! The ginkgo is also an amazing one – it hasn’t evolved in hundreds of millions of years. It can thrive on considerably higher sulfur than most other plants (so it’ll withstand being near a crowded intersection much better).
    Keep up the amazing writing and photos!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. An excellent post, Lisa. Also some wonderful photos. I have 2 large bookcases in my study and two shelves are dedicated to trees. We know much more about trees than we used to but still, there is more to learn. Two books I will recommend to you: 1) The Story of Yew by Guido Mina di Sospiro (2001) and 2) The Overstory by Richard Powers. Both are fiction but with their feet in science and reality. The first set in Ireland following the lives (3000 years) of a group of yew trees and the second is set in the U.S. a collection of stories that eventually all come together. My copy of the second book I lent someone and I’ve never had it back. I need to find another copy. Enjoy your weekend! 💌🌿🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Ashley, for your ongoing support! So you’re a tree person too! I’ve added the first book to my must-read list. I’ve read most of The Overstory, but found it depressed me so that I had bad dreams about it. 😔 You have a good weekend as well, my friend! 🌞

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh no, Lisa! I wouldn’t wish bad dreams on anyone! Actually, I have just finished a brilliant book about fungi, and all that connects those trees underground, Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake. Excellent reading if you don’t mind the scientific terminology! I finished it believing that there is hope for the future of the earth! Another book, I’ve just started, is Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. 💌🙏

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Since I didn’t see it the first time, I too am happy you reposted it. I especially like the very first shot and the E.B. White quote. My husband always thought it was be wonderful to buy a piece of land and plant hardwood trees that could be left to our daughters, although that’s unlikely to happen. I agree that the Joshua trees are Seuss-ian. 🙂 I think living in the desert makes you appreciate trees even more as there are so few of them. I remember when my parents (who live in Arizona) used to visit us in Ohio, they would always remark on how many trees there were. Now that I live in Arizona, I understand that much better. 🙂

    janet

    Liked by 3 people

  7. What a beautiful post and amazing pictures as always! My parents brought me to see the Redwood forest and Sequoia forest when I was a kid and it was an inspiring experience. In a few years when my youngest is a little older, I plan to take my children to see these amazing, giant trees. 🌲 🌳

    Liked by 2 people

  8. As I have grown older, I have come to appreciate the beauty of trees more and more. Here, in the UK, we have some wonderful ancient woodlands but it is always a fight to preserve our trees against the constant building of roads and houses. Fabulous photos in this post.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. wow wow and wow … your magnificent shots, your deep connection and respect have touched me! I’ve worshiped trees all my life and you’ve given me insight as to why, thank you sincerely Lisa 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. The trees here in Germany are different from back home, and I find myself drawn to write about them, their features and their histories. I agree that there is so much more to be learned from the trees. I will never forget my day in Muir Woods. Grünwald forest nearby me here is also magical. Thanks for sharing your love of the limbs. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Trees are beautiful. Whenever I walk with one of my best friends she always takes care with branches and roots, and points out impressive ones we might not have seen yet.

    When we visited the sequoias in California when I was younger I was amazed at their size and longevity. Thank you for reminding me just how awesome they, and all trees are.

    In New Zealand we have large trees called kauri. While not as large as sequoias or bristlecone pines, they are wonderful. The largest, named “Tane Mahuta” after the Māori god of forests and birds is awesome to see in person and reminds us what we must work hard to preserve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Hamish, and welcome! Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Hiking with someone educated on trees & flora is the most interesting kind of hiking! New Zealand is on my list of must-visits, as I have seen gorgeous pictures of your country. I did an internet search on your Kauri tree, and they look like large, very old grandfathers. Thank you for introducing me to your ancients and sharing your love of Nature. 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow 😲, that first photo on your post just blew my mind! And then the rest of the beautiful tree photo’s followed – it’s wonderfully captured.
    I agree, trees are very important … also brings back wonderful memories of my childhood as we had a big fig tree in our yard and my friends and I spent hours in this tree (eating figs and watching the people go by ☺️).

    Liked by 2 people

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