A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
– William Blake
I stopped on my way to an appointment today and got out of my car to thank some trees for their beauty. Trees have been prominent in the news these past few weeks, but not in a good way. Dense, overgrown forests filled with brush and debris were blamed by some for contributing to the fires that destroyed entire towns in California.
But I know that trees are good for the earth and every living thing that thrives on it. So I searched the internet to learn more about the ways trees benefit our planet. I was surprised by what I found. Not only do these stately timbers fight climate change by “inhaling” carbon dioxide and “exhaling” oxygen into the air, they serve the planet and our lives in so many other vital ways.
The Blue Spruce
I decided to make a list of how trees contribute directly to my life. I started with one of my favorites. If it weren’t for the majestic blue spruce that shades the west side of my old adobe in Santa Fe, my small un-air-conditioned casita would be impossible to live in during the summer months. I love this tree with its massive gray trunk, blue green needles, lovely fragrance, and the quiet murmur of the wind blowing through it.
The Pear Tree
And if the beautiful pear tree in the garden behind the casita weren’t there, I would have no shade to protect me from the blazing New Mexico sun. Shade from trees not only cools the earth, but saves water by slowing evaporation of moisture from the ground – which, incidentally, helps prevent fires.
The Persimmon Tree
Trees also provide food for all of us. What would the holidays be without pecan pie or bowls of fresh walnuts, persimmons and pomegranates that add beauty and nourishment to our holiday tables. And the squirrels, finches, wrens and woodpeckers – who constantly entertain me through my kitchen window – would likely disappear from my tiny garden if it weren’t for the trees that provide food and shelter for these feathered and furry friends.
Brilliant Fall Canopies
I love the way trees usher in the seasons with their changing foliage that announces summer, fall, winter and spring. I took these pictures today as I stood in awe beneath brilliantly colored canopies on the side of the road. Their glowing yellow, orange and red leaves, in contrast with elegantly textured black and brown trunks, took my breath away.
What beauty, majesty and patience trees exude. It’s kind of sad that because they are everywhere, long lived, and constant in our world, they become invisible to us. We take trees for granted, expecting them to always be there. We’re not aware of them as we trudge through our busy lives, rarely noticing their beauty or appreciating the great service they provide.
Radiant Fall Leaves
What do trees contribute to your life? How do they grace your home and community? What do they provide to your environment? Food, shade, sound, fragrance, beauty, clean air, oxygen, coolness, healing, wildlife habitat, crunchy leaves to walk through – and so much more.
During this season of gratitude, consider stopping to thank the trees that embellish your life. Make a vow every day to appreciate their beauty, presence and service to the earth. Let’s all do whatever we can to defend, revere and sustain the trees around us for generations to come. Trees truly nourish and heal, protect our planet and grace our lives. Just like you and me, they are living beings that deserve to be seen and acknowledged for the gifts they give.
For the love of trees,