Ah, The Trees: How Do You Care?
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot
Nothing is going to get better– it’s not.
(Dr. Seuss/Theodor Geisel)
I love trees. This is no secret. I decorate with trees, I doodle trees, I collage images of trees.
We own the appropriate Dr. Seuss Book and all the film variations, and it’s got me thinking again: I care. I’ve planted native Northwest trees in the otherwise empty lot that is my front yard, I’ve named all the trees on my property and in various other places in the the town I grew up in (Penelope was first), and I collected two huge stumps when my neighbors cut down their huge maples earlier this year.
I miss those trees immensely. They have memories associated with the man who cared for them and who is no longer here, and they provided a huge amount of shade for everyone who used the sidewalk, the bike lane, and the road. When that man died, Toby and I used to hug those trees in what used to be his front yard every time we walked by them to remember him.
The family who owns that property now are his grandkids and great grandkids, and it’s shocking how much they don’t value those trees. I’ve met and talked with other people here in Oregon who cut down all the trees on their property; they didn’t want to pick up the leaves or trim them or work around them. There are so many trees here in Oregon, and they grow so easily, that people here consider them common.
I named trees as a kid because they were rare. I read the Anne books by L.M. Montgomery when I was a teenager, and they were amazing to me because of the reverence the author has toward trees. I lived in the desert city of New Mexico called Albuquerque. It’s the biggest city in New Mexico; trees grow rarely in the desert, and they grow rarely in cities– people who want to grow trees in Albuquerque have to put a lot of effort into nurturing them. Intentionally watering them, laboriously digging trenches for sprinkler systems… it’s quite a contrast from green, green Oregon, where you have to put in a large effort to stop things from growing, but you can see why I’m shocked at the attitude that trees are common.
So, yes— from my childhood, I have cared an awful lot. But can I do more to help? More besides planting on my own property and reading books to my kids about them? More than creating and loving images of trees?
All the extra I can think of is to write about them.