Despite the fact that I love the outdoors, no one would mistake me for a tree hugger. While I’ve become more and more “crunchy” over the years, I’ve never embraced the moniker “environmentalist,” for a variety of reasons. I was, however, such an ant-litter Nazi, that when a Pennsylvania hotline existed to report littering, I made several calls detailing make, model, and license number of cars from which trash was thrown. But, I digress. In honor of the fact I’m finally reading Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite trees.
by Joyce Kilmer
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Large, looming maple trees are the trees of my childhood. Two giant ones towered over my parents’ yard. The sturdy limb of one held what we called a Tarzan swing, which enabled me to swing from the hillside far over the lawn. The maples are part of the tree line I can still visualize when I close my eyes – a line of tall treetops standing sentinel against the sky in view from my parents’ living room window. A local Maple Sugar Festival has endeared the maple tree to me as well.
These trees, native to Pennsylvania, bring joy to me each spring as I spy them along roadsides. I associate the sight of their purple blossoms with our engagement, the springtime we traveled the Pennsylvania Turnpike almost weekly.
Weeping Willows, Mangroves, and the Like
I tend to be attracted to trees with long tentacle-like limbs, trunks, roots, and leaves. Hence my love for weeping willows, mangroves, and this tree I posed with multiple times on our honeymoon on St. John, USVI. Anyone know what kind of tree it might be?
I love the white, peeling bark of the birch tree. We planted a river birch in our backyard last year. Its bark started peeling this summer.
Cherry, Pear Trees
I grew up around wild nut trees, but not fruit trees. When we bought our home, we inherited both a cherry and a pear tree. Both trees have produced abundant fruit over the years, so we’ve had the fun of harvesting and the mess of cleaning up. By necessity, I taught myself to can jellies and jams and bake a variety of pies.
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Which tree is your favorite? Why?