Seeing the Forest and the Trees

Trees are my focus for this month. How can we not think
about trees in October? They are turning beautiful hues and showing us how nice
it can be to let go. 

Trees have also been on my mind because I recently attended
a lecture given by Joan Maloof, author and founder of the Old-Growth Forest
Network (OGFN). The mission of the OGFN is to connect
people with nature by creating a national network of protected, mature, and
publicly-accessible native forests. 
The organization was created because many of the old-growth
forests were being logged, developed or otherwise destroyed. The OGFN strives
to preserve the remaining old-growth forests in thousands of counties in the
United States so all generations can experience a real forest and its native
Joan’s lecture was given at Haverford College, which hosts
an arboretum and some amazing specimen trees. After her lecture I felt inspired
and decided to take advantage of the opportunity to sit underneath an elm tree
that was a direct descendent of the Penn Treaty Tree. What a magical experience
that was. Incredibly peaceful and calming. A ‘stop and smell the roses’ kind of
Official designation for the Haverford Elm

Sitting under the Penn Treaty Elm
Looking up into the branches
Another amazing tree I saw recently was located in
Tarrytown, NY at the Lyndhurst estate, former home of New York City mayor William Paulding, Jr., merchant George Merritt, and railroad tycoon Jay Gould. Check out this awe inspiring weeping beech
tree! You can barely see me in the photo. 
Lyndhurst’s enormous weeping Beech
My next stop to admire trees was Boise, ID – known as the
City of Trees. Boise is set in the
foothills, which typically consist of grasses and sagebrush, not trees. Early
homeowners were encouraged to improve their property with shade trees, which
they did. 
The tree-lined Boise River
Trees all over the world have great lessons to teach. I’m
certainly not the first to observe this fact. Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench loves
trees so much she produced a documentary called ‘My Passion for Trees’. Filmed over the course of a year, the
documentary studied trees throughout the seasons and helped Judi use science to
tell the stories the trees can’t tell on their own. Judi saw trees in a new
light and learned how they communicate with each other and deal with adversity.
For Judi and for me, trees aren’t just trees. They are a community of living
things who support each other and help us as human beings. 

I hope you’ll join me in living life according to some
advice from a tree:

Advice from a Tree

up tall and proud,

your roots into the earth,

Be content
with your natural beauty,

out on a limb,

plenty of water,

your roots,

the view!


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