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Saturday, March 19, 2016

International Day of Forests - March 21st

March 21st, [Monday this year] is International Day of Forests. Despite this being one of my busiest times of the year, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to write about forests and trees. [You'll just have to wait with baited breathe for me to finish up my posts about dragons next month.]


My family knows I love trees. My children draw me pictures of trees for my birthday and Mother's Day, because they know trees make me happy.

Here's a poem I wrote the other day while my youngest played soccer. [It was the last off season practice, and I wasn't needed to help coach, so I got to lounge around staring at trees.]

               I Live Trees

I breathe trees at night under the stars: pure, oxygen rich, cool.
I eat trees of many colors: yellow lemons, red cherries, purple plums, peaches, oranges, brown almonds, walnuts, cashews, pitashios, even acorns.
I live trees. I live in trees, my house: wooden beams, walls, doors, chairs, tables, cabinets, shelves, notepads, schoolwork, bills, books, even toilet paper.
I live trees.


I love trees:
spring's new buds of miniature green leaves: little hands, baby squirrel paws,
scent and glow of tree flowers: dogwoods, redbuds, cherry trees,
shade on a hot day,
whisper of green leaves in the drifting breeze,
textured silhouettes of shadow and light,
kaleidoscope of fall colors,
crunch and crackle of crisp leaves on a fall walk,
skittering of leaf armies along a winter creeping road.
I live trees.
I long for trees:
toddler longed to go play with leaves, sticks and seeds.
preschooler longed to be taller to climb up into branches.
primary schooler longed to wander wooded trails.
elementary schooler longed to draw good trees.
middle schooler longed to for bravery enough to wander wooded trails alone.
high schooler longed to know names and secrets of each tree species.
college student longed for trees of home.
working stiff longed for the time to visit trees.
young mother living in a city yearned for trees for my child, so I dreamed them.

Now in the country again, with several children, we play with leaves, sticks and seeds, we climb into branches, we wander wooded trails, we draw good trees, we know many of the names of many of the species and a few of secrets.
But the more I know of trees the more I find I live trees with an exquisite fierceness.

Trees are vitally important. In the Old Testament in Deuteronomy, verse 20:19 people were told to not cut down a fruit tree to make war, because they are so beneficial and take so long to grow. Here in the northeastern USA, there are abundant trees. They are taken for granted. Yet I still get sad whenever I see a tree cut down, especially an old venerable one.

I remember as I child I cried whenever one of our many yard trees was cut down, for whatever reason. Each tree in my yard as a child was my friend. Idly circling their trunks was not much different from idly circling an adults legs while they talked endlessly whenever it came time to say goodbye to another adult. Trees branches reminded me of adults' skirts, bags, arms shifting around as they juggled packages to gesture.

As a youngish mother, I knew when we finally bought our first house, I wanted one with at least one mature, climbable tree in the yard. We could plant as many as we wanted [five to date], but they take so long to grow, the kids wouldn't get to climb in them if there wasn't already one there. [We found one with four climbable trees!]
Many people don't want trees in their yard so they won't have to rake leaves. I always find the leaf raking an amazing time. The crunch and crackle of leaves, the smell of earth and life, it thrills me. [I sure still having one child young enough to love jumping in the leaf piles helps.] Good raking days also make excellent picture taking opportunities, too, with all the bright colors and the happy smiles.

I doesn't surprise me at all that researchers have recently found trees to have amazing impacts on the areas around them. Perhaps they are even communal in their relationships to other trees. If you are at all interested in trees I recommend this video Mother Tree (4:40)

Here's a link to UN's International Day of Forests Committee site:  International Day of Forests 
Scroll down to forest films. There are several videos that you might find interesting.
From my love of trees displayed here, there should be no surprise that trees figure integrally into the YA fantasy series I'm writing. The progress on the story feels glacially slow, because I'm so busy with teaching and mothering and learning how to be a good writer. Despite this, I feel the five book series becoming firm and juicy as I work through all five plots to make sure it holds together tightly. I figure I'll be able to release them in a yearly succession once the first is ready, because I've hammered out the plots and rough drafts of the others so thoroughly. Here's a link to my Pinterest page for my first book I'm in the process of writing where I've gathered mood images to help me understand my books better.

So what plans do you have this year to celebrate the International Day of Forests? I'm trying to find space in out smallish yard [0.18 acres] to plant another tree. I might need to find a friend that will let me plant a tree in their yard. [It wouldn't be the first time.]



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