Trees Growing Old
“Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees.”-Karle Wilson Baker
There still happen to be plenty of trees out there, as many as we allow them to be at times, yet those which happen to survive do it in their nevertheless and at all times majestic way. It looks to me that there may be a tree for each man inhabiting this planet, yet sometimes there comes a tree butcher who finds it suitable to end the life of one such tree which he ironically happens to find useless or better said he considers its presence as being worthless there in its previous natural scenery.
It could be said that today I woke up to re-discover the presence of trees in my walks in the park or just walking by them on the alleys of the city or simply by looking outside my window. While in a dormant state under the effect of winter they many times end up entering a dormant phase even in our mind, being either ignored or just neglected. Mainly because having no color in them we pay little if any attention to their presence there in the white vastness of winter. Yet, as the spring makes its timid or in force presence in nature replacing winter in one day or all along some weeks, trees too seem to reach some color and get to be sensed as being very much alive again.
In some of my walks in the park I allowed my eyes to sort of peruse the heights of the trees and the sky and sometimes by doing this I did manage to be the witness of some labyrinth like arrangement of branches, branches that sometimes get entangled, twisting and turning in what could be envisaged as being a secret sometimes overt way of living of a tree. To me trees look very much like people, carrying their own stories with them, stories which either burden them or instead make them blossom and thrive with each new year that passes over them. It may be just a poetic approach or the approach sometimes photographers have when trying to capture the trees in an attempt to somehow grasp immortality, yet this is how I picture trees.
Are trees numb or instead they happen to be quite vocal in their presence in nature? What if one day, a tree started talking to you? It may all look now very much like the scenario of a science fiction movie! Much like Shakespeare once said “Stones have been known to move and trees to speak.” And trees do speak their sufferance and pains to the whole world of trees by means of what science people have referred to as “waves”. Rumor has it that they respond to any harming element coming from the environment in which they dwell by means of some chemical reactions taking place in their inner laboratory. This may be their attempt and their way to defend themselves against any strike coming from the surrounding insects seeking to make a feast on them or against any other stressful natural or induced factor such as freezing their way in cold weather, dying out when facing drought, or pollution or sometimes lacking nutrients that otherwise make them thrive when having their roots in the proper soil.
Why do trees resemble people in many aspects? First of all if you take your time to closely watch a tree, you may be able to notice that no two trees happen to be alike, each and every one of them having its own unique traits, traits that certainly differentiate it from the one sitting next to it in the sometimes vast row of trees nicely aligned. Even though they could end up facing various things and conditions during their lifetime…being the victim of a malicious virus or fire or sometimes lacking water, they most certainly do not live forever. Have you ever been haunted by the question “How long does a tree live?” If you have then most certainly you’ve managed to discover that they may at times live as long as 4000 years but in order to be able to survive that long we should be talking about a giant sequoia. But still as far as time concerns trees, we may indeed get to envy them. Mainly because they sometimes resist to as many as 5, 6, 7 hundred years and even 1000 years when bringing in the name of redwood trees. They may be dying of old age or they may simply find their end after being attacked or better said invaded by some fungus or some bacteria, after getting some rot or cankers.
Much us like humans, they may sometimes be caught vulnerable in front of this whole army of natural factors. And when this happens they may end up being too weak to do anything else but surrender. Factors like drought, fire and age do manage to weaken the trees.
Much like Alexander Smith once said “Trees are your best antiques.”
Indeed trees happen to be or should be a joy for us. Whenever putting down a healthy tree we should envisage a world in which there were none of them, a world that would certainly get to suffocate us. Perhaps we should be carrying with us the image of a blossoming cherry tree or the feeling we get when looking for and being offered its sheltering protection.
Much like Galeain-ip Altiem MacDunelmor once said “They are beautiful in their peace, they are wise in their silence. They will stand after we are dust. They teach us and we tend them.” Perennial, evergreen, with leaves or needles, growing fruits or fruitless, with animals building their homes in them or just relying on them for food or some shade, there comes to be one generic name only, that of a tree!11