I polished this post while listening to Barrack Obama, the 44th President of the United States stump for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. What a pleasure it was to listen to a coherent message of unity, respect, values, decency, commitment, public service, encouragement, promise, hope, love, and more, tempered by some chastisement, disbelief, humour, outrage, and subtle (and not so subtle) digs as necessary. It was sublime.
After several years of thinking I should start a blog, I committed and wrote my first post in March 2019. I wanted to write one post a week because I can sometimes be an overachiever, but given that my blog is not what I do for a living, I soon saw that idea in my rearview mirror. To be exact, by the end of March 2019 I’d left the idea of one post a week behind 😆, but it was still a dream.
Then I thought I would post three times a month. Hmmm … dream modified but still a dream. I continued dreaming, but seldom posting, through April, May and June (one post total), then in July it was posting gold. I wrote a whopping nine entries that month, and I haven’t gotten close to that number since. After that peak of prolific posting, I’ve had a few months of four, five, or six posts but mainly it’s been about two per month. I have live with that, unless I give up my day job so I can travel and write for a living 🤔. My dream lives on and hope springs eternal.
After I wrote my most recent post at the beginning of this month, I realized that it was number 49 and 50 was around the corner. Interestingly (to me anyway) I started post 49 by celebrating my sister who had just turned 50 and now here I am celebrating another 50th milestone 🏏. Since 50 has to be fabulous (no pressure), I thought that for my 50th post I would showcase something that fascinates me and so I present to you 50 shades of trees. Now how do I choose 50 trees out of 1,000 odd photos? 🤔😲
My friend’s husband refers to me as a ‘tree hugger’. In fact when he doesn’t remember my name Lisa says ‘the tree hugger’ and he knows exactly who she means. I don’t think of myself as a tree hugger, but I admit to being intrigued by them, especially the dead and dormant ones. I don’t know when this fascination began. Was it from running around Shak Shak (Albizia lebbeck) and flamboyant (Delonix regia) trees when I was a child? Swinging from wisps? Hiking through them as a teenager?
I look at trees and know that they have a wealth of stories that I can only imagine – some awesome, some horrific. Fitting because they are witnesses to humanity’s continuum of good and evil.
Dead trees contribute more to life than any of us ever will.
They’ve been part of the Earth’s lungs and have helped to cleanse the air of the pollutants we put in it. In life they breathed in the carbon dioxide we exhaled. At their death they released the sequestered carbon back into the atmosphere.
For some trees, death is yet another beginning. In death as in life they perform certain ecosystem services like shelter, storage, structure, safety, food, erosion control, and land stabilization.
Sometimes performing these services make them look downright freaky🤭😆.
Dead trees become furniture, art, and muses.
Living and dead trees keep record of decades, hundreds, and thousands of years of history.
They are conversation starters and conversation drivers. Like these photos below taken at North Lake near Bishop CA, Kings Canyon National Park, Malibu Creek State Park, Cougar Crest Trail, Sabrina Lake near Bishop CA, Mount San Jacinto State Park, Yosemite, Solstice Canyon Park (the photo I was photographed taking in first photo in this post), and Taylor Trail.
They are resilient. Imagine what natural and manmade disasters they have endured. The olive tree in the photo array below is at the Acropolis in Athens Greece. It is said that an olive tree has grown at that location in the Acropolis since the goddess Athena planted the original one and that each successive tree has been grown from a sprig of the previous one. The current tree was planted in 1952 from a piece saved when the area was sacked in World War II (Ilias Tomazos; AthensWalkingTours.gr).
Trees are centres of learning.
They enhance our landscape, conjure ideas for horror stories and movies, and tickle my imagination. They are interesting, majestic and beautiful 😍.
The trees in the photo array above (from top left) were taken in: Cuba 2013, Franklin Canyon Park 2020, Lake Alice on the University of Florida campus 2005, Greece 2018, Georgia 2007, St Nicholas Abbey, Barbados 2015.
Some are giants! And they’re not always sleeping.
They sometimes walk amongst us …
I look at trees and wonder what amazing tales they would tell if only I were in tune enough to understand. What do they whisper to you?
My tree photos represent many years, places, countries, emotions, friendships, family and more. They are witness to some important parts of my life story. Are you listening to what they’re saying?