Character Trees

Character Trees

imageI love trees. My street had a wealth of old trees when I was a child. My bedroom window looked out into the upper branches of an ancient apple tree. It was a view that I adored. When I read Anne of Green Gables I immediately recognized the Snow Queen.

As a teen when I went off to college in the big city I was rapidly appalled by the exhaust fumes, noise and endless concrete. My older sister loved the city. I always preferred the country, but I had nothing against the city. Only a few months into college I found myself irresistibly standing transfixed on the sidewalk in front of the only green space on campus. It was home to one majestic tree. A squirrel was playing next to tree and I could not move until he disappeared from sight. I was late for class because I couldn’t take my eyes off a squirrel. As a conscientious student, I was astounded at my own behavior. Being of a philosophical nature I pondered what it represented for the rest of the day and part of the night. I concluded that I could not be happy living anywhere with more people than trees. I probably overestimated the number of trees required, but to this day I have never been satisfied without a minimum of one tree per household.  More trees always make me happier.

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I originally believed that when the tree to person ratio exceeded my preferences it resulted in too many people congested into one area. I now wonder if it may also be a natural fondness for what trees represent. I have a good friend who is a fellow tree enthusiast. She described trees as have such interesting characters. She did not mean that they had personalities, but that they remind us of people who have very lively characters. The sort of characters who make an engaging story. My friend loves a good story as well as an interesting tree. I think that this may be why writers often express a fondness for trees. Tolkien loved trees as did L.M. Montgomery. Trees often remind me of people with personalities too big to keep in check.

I have cried when my neighbors cut a tree down. I still miss trees that were removed years ago. When age, disease or lightning damage a tree I understand why that tree may need to be removed. What I don’t understand is why some people view trees as nothing more than a liability issue. Lest it lose a branch in a storm, or blow down on a car they cut it down and replace the regal growth of generations with a sapling. I find it sad. Everyone doesn’t find the same joy in antique trees.  Rather than an arborist they call a tree removal company. Fortunately, God filled the earth with trees and left alone more grow. New trees are the hope of the future. I will admit that some self-sow very freely and many a gardener may have been disgruntled by their pervasiveness. They do not always take root in the best places. Oh, but the beauty they provide!

You may have guessed, but my favorite trees are wild trees. Left to their own devices the winds reshape trees into fascinating structures. Some people want symmetry. As for me, I like tempestuous trees, shockingly autumn colored trees, frilly spring blooming trees, stooping, weeping or swaying, I love trees.



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