When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
John Muir


It is a sad day when a tree is struck be lighting, burned in a fire or just dies of decay and sickness. Nature has its own way of changing and renewing. Disturbances are part of the natural life cycle of forests. and most often helps the forest to renew itself. Can we say the same of human-caused deforestation?

I lived in the skirts of cities of my life, usually in places where nature still sings, and a bit of wilderness can be seen.

My childhood was spent climbing trees. I loved to move form branch to branch, looking at the sky between leaves trying to reach as high as I could. You would find me swinging on a liana (those long-stemmed, woody vines), standing or sitting comfortably on a fat branch reading. Once done, I hanged downwards on a lower branch and hit the ground with a twist; my favorite “see you tomorrow!” farewell and thanks to the tree.

There was something very powerful, a connection I didn’t question or tried to rationalize; it just felt so good to be around trees. As I grew up I began to understand how important nature was for me, how its colors, smells and sounds impacted my moods. I needed “green” as much as food to survive. I needed trees as much as friends. Touching a tree, following the lines and rough textures of the bark, felt like caressing something precious and mysterious. I could feel a force hidden behind the seemingly weak layer of bark that crumpled down at my touch or sounded funny when I knocked. Hugging a tree -yes, I’m one of those- was a heartwarming, almost mystical experience; I just could help it!

I would never forget my parents’ faces when I came home one day and happily shared my new discovery. We were trees’ kin; we had invisible roots growing down into Earth like theirs that intertwined in a kind of fantastic fabric. It was a moment of divine madness and clarity! Of course, they dismissed it after a moment, as many do in the presence of those rare moments of enlighted intuition when Wisdom touches and we can see the world through the eyes of God.

I was just a kid! Graciously my disappointment then, never touched the inner certainty born that day. It remains eternally imprinted in my soul.

There’s no place for magic and miracles in a world that can’t go beyond the concepts of “utilitarian” and “things;” or is annoyed by the cost of sweeping leaves, trimming and taking appropriate measures to prevent the consequences that will make cutting a healthy mature tree, an excuse to solve a problem that might have never been, if we had done so in time.

Come on! We are talking real life here, right?

Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.
Warren Buffett

It might seem easier and cheaper to just get rid of trees; they are just trees after all, so many out there! Let it be the neighbors, the city, the government and the health insurance problem. Who has time or energy to worry about the improved air quality, the reduction of emissions, smog, the green-house gasses and the “urban heat island” effect, noise abatement, storm water attenuation, the provision for wildlife habitat and an increased psychological well-being! Yes, just a few things trees do for us beside making our spaces beautiful.

Perhaps you can’t relate to my love for trees; perhaps you have never felt their energy, heard them sing or whisper words of wisdom. Perhaps the sight of leaves, their ruffling sound in the wind, the smell of grass and the coolness below its shade, doesn’t make you sigh in wonder or breathe deep.

Perhaps I am just nut’s, and you can’t empathize with my wounded heart as I saw an old beautiful and healthy tree (40 rings on a branch!) being brought down because of the roots growing in search of water. The City of Chicago just cut it down without given any of us a chance to negotiate an alternative.

It’s just one tree!

Not to me, not to the birds with nests on it, or the squirrels; not to those would had lived in the neighborhood all their lives, some not even been born went it was planted. Not for your kid’s future, if we keep thinking this way.

We take for granted the many years it takes for a tree to grow….

Let me ask you a simple question; where do you park your car on a hot summer, where do you sit, or barbecue, what is the sight from your bedroom window? Does it inspire you? How much on your power bill?

I’m not a tree expert, but even I know that trimming and watering can encourage deep root growth keeping them out of the way. Pruning tree roots is also an alternative. Yes, it would create a ritual of trimming every few years to keep the roots in check, I grant you that; but it also would allow the tree to offer its beauty and many benefits to our kids in the many years to come, and we would still be blessed with it shade and the memories, in our golden years.

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The world progresses… Define progress please! The more we learn, the more we forget. We have comfort, technology, incredible discoveries and tools and we live unhappy, sick, and isolated lives. Cities grow taking with them every vestige of life’s wilderness, mysteries and natural beauty.

We have the most amazing planet and choose concrete and glass cages to overrun the potential for a well-balanced modern life that allows soulful living. Don’t misunderstand me, I like comfort-quality living and I’m grateful to the many technological, medical and social advances. Leaving aside all esoteric or spiritual wisdom, I just believe that awareness and respect for our environment and it many life forms, is not only a “green” attitude, it might prove a necessary one for our survival.

One tree matters!

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth’s remaining wilderness in the last 25 years and there may be none left within a century if trends continue. To date, we have extracted approximately 23 billion tons of resources from the Earth. That’s this year alone. It’s a continuous practice in spite of our best efforts to change.

Our natural ecosystems are finding it hard to cope with the different pressures and are unable to adjust. If we continue depleting resources and destroying our environment, soon it will be too late for them to recover, even with our help.

Man is constantly aware of the influence of nature in the form of the air he breathes, the water he drinks, the food he eats, and the flow of energy and information. Many of our challenges are a response to the natural processes and changes in the weather. In short, we are connected with nature by “blood” ties and we cannot live outside it.

The ecological crisis is a matter of all. Finding solutions might be a complex issue; but we can star today, by understanding that only a combined effort of individuals, enterprises and countries, linked with a clear awareness of our role in planetary ecological responsibility, can help protect our environment and our kid’s future.

The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

On simple action is a worthy cause, as the compound effect of everyone of us, caring for the tree in our yard and/or on the street, multiplies the number of trees standing, and forces our cities organizations to promptly and efficiently take measures to prevent diseases, overgrown roots and cutting trees ;or replanting one without delay when there’s no other choice.

The huge stump out there squeezes my heart; it stands as a reminder of a beautiful sight that made me happy every morning with the birds and squirrels going on with their business in its lost haven of green, shade and protection. Every time I saw this tree, I thought of fairy tales and hidden treasures; the many things it might have seen and heard, the secrets and wisdom it kept disguised in the shape of a tree.

I have moved many times over my life, no matter if renting a room or a small apartment, every one of my searches have been influenced, if not determined, by two things: trees in the area and a big window where I can see them. I am convinced that it is my abiding friendship with nature which has kept me unusually young and healthy throughout my life, for this fellow kindship with nature energizes most of my activities.

As I looked for organizations that could understand my pain and help me plant a new tree, I found a myriad of links to videos and sound snaps of nature, trees, rain; you name it. What an irony! Nature, rain, trees are still here, but we draw on apps and internet to enjoy them?

Will be there an oxygen app to download in the future? A tree shade, a water app? A virtual reality game to experience the sound of leaves, a cool breeze, climbing a tree? Because if we keep cutting trees and feeling entitled to destroy nature, instead of finding ways to co-habit and respectfully share this world; we might need them.

Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.
― Kahlil Gibran

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