Trees-Magical, Mysterious, and Sacred

Beautiful Trees

A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible-Welsh Proverb

What is it about trees that make them so magical…so special? Have you ever walked through a forest? The silence is broken by their whispers. Even in stillness the message is clear-there is a sacredness that is imbued by their majestic presence.

Throughout history, trees have held a mysterious symbolism. The Druids of the ancient Iron Age were men who were of a priestly class. Today, Druids are associated with holding knowledge of trees and the forest; of practicing tree medicine-ceremony that involves meditation and communing with nature. The Druids Society support tree planting and reforestation.

Luna and Julia Butterfly Hill

“Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky; we fell them down and turn them into paper, that we may record our emptiness.”  Kahlil Gibran

When Julia Butterfly Hill climbed up the California Redwood Tree, ‘Luna’ , it was December 1997.  She did not disembark until December of 1999.  For 738 days, Hill lived perched 180 feet above the forest floor in Humboldt County, California.  Why?  Why would anyone go to such extremes over a tree?

Trees are our livelihood, both in the present and the future.  They are an intricate part of our ecosystem providing shelter to animals, birds, reptiles and insects.  They provide wood for our homes, as well as being a food source.  More importantly, trees help modulate the earth’s temperature, and are instrumental in the balance of the oxygen and carbon dioxide that humans use and expel. 

Additionally, trees help to prevent soil erosion.  They are a primary energy source for many countries.  Aesthetically, trees add to the beauty, pleasure and comfort of humans while increasing the land value in certain markets.

In the case for saving Luna, Hill, and many other environmental activists, protested the attempted destruction of this ancient life by the Pacific Lumber Company.  Today, Luna is protected by the Sanctuary Forest-a nonprofit organization.

Butterfly has since documented her experience in the book:  The Legacy of Luna: The story of a tree, a woman and the struggle to save the Redwoods.

Find Your Tree

The magic of climbing trees

Trees offer shade on hot summer days
Trees offer shade on hot summer days | Source
Teaching children to respect and love trees is important.
Teaching children to respect and love trees is important. | Source
Still tree climbing at age 51 April Hubchallenge #21
Still tree climbing at age 51 April Hubchallenge #21 | Source

I'm an Avid Tree Hugger

I have been an admirer of trees since I was first lifted into the boughs of my grandfather’s cherry tree. Not to be undone by my brothers, I learned early on how to climb a tree-jumping for the lowest branch, shinnying up the trunk and throwing a leg over as I reached the center. My arms were stronger then, and my weight not as heavy, but it is my obligation as a grandparent to ensure the growth of trees for the next generation, along with teaching my grandchildren how to respect and enjoy trees.

“There is always music amongst the trees in the garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.” Minnie Aumonier.

Often, in the early summer mornings, I would hoist myself up into the top branches of the backyard maple, listening to the sounds of the world waking up. I would sit for long hours contemplating my life and enjoying, with reverence, the quiet peace the shelter of the leaves offered. Perhaps it was my first, true spiritual experience.

Throughout the years, raising my children, my family-husband and daughters, would be amused by my comments as we drove or walked by the trees in our community. I would point out the beauty of certain trees-the wide open branches on one, the ‘climb-ability’ of another, or the beautiful fullness of the foliage on another.

So, it was with sad regret that my daughter told me about the demise of a particular tree near our former home that I had admired every time I passed. I was shocked and dismayed, on one visit to Michigan, to discover that it was gone-cruelly cut down and a stump carved into some figurine stood in its place.

If we carelessly cut down the beauty of what sustains our lives and souls, what is left?

The Friendship Oak of Mississippi

One of the wonderful memories I have is visiting my sister when she lived in Mississippi. Knowing how I felt about trees she took me to the University of Southern Miss Gulf Park Campus to show me The Friendship Oak. At 500 years old, this magnificent oak is a sight to behold. At one time, pre-Katrina days, people were allowed to climb this beautiful tree. There were stairs leading up to the center, and a plaque proclaiming its age, with a little ‘promise’ of everlasting friendship to all who visit together in the shade of its long reaching boughs.

Today, it is supported best with T.L.C.-tender loving care. No longer allowed to climb into its ample lap, visitors are asked to be particularly kind and considerate to nurture it while it heals. I can’t imagine anyone not honoring that, and I consider myself fortunate to have been there before the big hurricane devastation.

Please Take This Poll

Do you protect trees?

See results without voting

The Arbor Foundation says, "Please Plant a Tree"

In closing, I would like to urge all who read this to consider trees on your next walk. Don’t forget to look-really look, at the trees that offer so much and require only one thing-that we respect and care for their longevity.

Remember to smell the forest as you trek through the wooded paths, and breathe deeply. There are no smells quite like it. Walk quietly and keep your ears open wide in order to hear what the trees are telling you. And, don’t forget to touch its trunk feeling for the texture of the bark-is it smooth, or gnarly? Does it have moss growing on it, or a knot on the side? Do you see any insects or perhaps a woodpecker’s staccato tap can be heard high above you.

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time is now-Chinese Proverb.

Arbor Day is a day that is set aside to plant trees, but, really-only one day a year? I’m sure that we can all find it in our hearts to replenish the vanishing trees by planting one tree per month. Won’t you help support the continuation of a healthy planet?


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Comments 41 comments

aslanlight profile image

aslanlight 5 years ago from England

I'm with you; I love trees and as you said we depend upon them. The British government were going to sell off our forests recently and the thought of it broke my heart! Public opinion was so loud we stopped them!

You're an excellent writer!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Good for you! I believe that it just takes one to start the ball rolling. Thanks for your comments.


timorous profile image

timorous 5 years ago from Me to You

Hello Denise :) I love trees as well. Where I currently live, the trees (walnuts and maples mostly) are about 75 feet tall and about as old, if not older. They're doing just fine for the most part.

Never a day goes by that I'm not admiring the trees as I make my rounds (shopping, walking the dog...) Thanks for reminding us.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

Hi Denise, I love trees, also, and always think that a home without trees and flowers looks unloved. A great source of trees for planting is the Arbor Day Foundation. You can get free trees (although very small ones) just for joining! I love the Chinese proverb that you quoted — the best time to plant a tree is now! Time goes by so quickly, and in no time at all those little saplings will be nice sized trees! Thanks for a really nice hub! Voted up and useful.


gr82bme profile image

gr82bme 5 years ago from USA

I live in the country and I would rather see them tear down a house then cut a tree down


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

This was so beautifully written. I love trees too, esp. the Weeping Willow and old oak. I had a beautiful Tulip tree before moving to my present home. Thank you for sharing memories.

Cheers


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 5 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

I enjoyed this magical tree story and those children are adorable! I want to squeeze them both! Now I know how you feel about trees. I took a walk today in the forest and photographed some amazing trees! There is this one area with 100 year old beech trees. I feel the magic when I walk under them! Amazing woman, Julia Butterfly Hill! Take care as always Denise!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Timorous-so nice to see you again. :) Thanks for visiting and sharing your experiences. Yes, I would have guessed that you would be an admirerer of trees. I love your hubs about flowers and such.

Hi Stephanie-thanks for the vote-and the mention about the free tree from the Arbor Day Foundation. Worth mentioning.

gr82bme-I agree, it almost is a physical hurt when I see the lumber guys at work in the woods! I want to literally yank their chains!

Ruby-I've never heard of a tulip tree-will have to look that one up. The Oak represents strength (go figure) and is considered the 'father of the woods' and the willow represents imagination and flexibility, if I remember correctly. I have a few books about trees, which I could have included here; some are 'magical' and some are practical. I prefer the magical b/c that is how I feel about trees-but the practical help me to identify them, LOL

Oh Kath-thanks so much for your comments about the 'magical' tree story. It is hard to convey, at times, the feelings I have about my connection with trees and I so wanted to make it a 'worthy' hub. Thanks for sharing your walk.

Those are two of my four grandkids-the two youngest and they ARE squeezable. But, wiggly so they rarely sit still long enough for me to get my fill in. (They give great hugs, though.) You can see more of them through my daughters hubs: cardelean.


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 5 years ago from New England

Hey Denise,

Thanks for this hub. I'd love to join the Arbor Day foundation and now I want to show my daughter "Fern Gully." This hub reminded me about the movie. But most importantly, I want to just walk in the woods and love the trees! So tempted to pursue Druidry now that I have become more closely aligned with my latent inner pagan (raised Christian, and still appreciate Jesus, but my spirituality is very nature-inspired).

In the meantime, I will take more walks along our local pond. :0)


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Very cool-'mama' that you are in touch with your inner nature girl. Enjoy your day at your Walden Pond. :) I hear you about the Druids--but, that is another hub for me, LOL


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

Denise, I voted this hub beautiful and awesome because it is. When I saw the title, I immediately thought of the Friendship Oak in MS. I'm sure I have a pic of it somewhere in my attic. I'm glad to hear it survived Katrina.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Danette-Thanks for the votes. I know what you mean. I was stunned to hear of the damage and grateful it did survive. I don't have photos of us there, but I do have a postcard still. :)


andrebreynolds profile image

andrebreynolds 5 years ago

Hi.

This is lovely hub. Yeah I love it too. I love to climb it


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you andre-They are fun to climb! I like watching my grandkids climb trees now. :)


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Only one word here ; beautiful !!!

Thank you for sharing your talent with us on here.

Take care

Eiddwen.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Eiddwen, Thanks-glad you enjoyed it. I love trees, as you can tell. LOL


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

I love trees as well. Getting a bit old to climb them now but spent many days of my youth up in them. Forests are like cathedrals to me. They are certainly one of nature's sacred places. Up and beautiful!!!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Peggy, Sacred, yes. Thanks for your comments and vote. :)


writeronline 5 years ago

Loved this Denise. In fact, it's inspired me to go back and write a hub. About something I've been meaning to get down on paper for a while. Voted up and beautiful. Thankyou.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Good morning writer-how wonderful that an idea popped into your head for another hub. Cool. Thanks for your comments and vote.


upal19 profile image

upal19 5 years ago from Dhaka

I love trees too. I had an addiction to climbing trees in my childhood. Your write up remembered me my childhood.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Upal-I have wanted to write a tribute to trees from the time I began my Hubpages journey. It took a long time to write because I wanted it to be special. I love trees and am so grateful for all that they bring to our world. I just am amazed at how few people realize or appreciate them. Thanks for reading. I know you understand. :)


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 5 years ago from Colorado

I have always felt something deeply spiritual about the character of untouched natural places, and trees are always an integral part of it. In the city, trees are a kind of oasis of nature, a reminder that there is something more at work beneath the hustle and bustle of our lives.

This hub presents some wonderful, well-written reflections on this idea. I enjoyed it, and your complements about my poem mean a great deal coming from one so intimate with the trees.

Happy writing!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Wayseeker, I agree with you-trees in the city...an oasis indeed. Thanks for visiting the hub and commenting. Enjoy your Hubpages community. :)


stessily 4 years ago

Denise, Trees indeed are magical, mysterious, sacred. I was thrilled in childhood to climb them, to perch on their branches, to hug them, to appreciate their leaves and bark, and to sniff the ones with flowers.

I remember Julia Butterfly Hill's tree residence; it's inspirational for many reasons but especially because it succeeded.

Where is the gorgeous, exuberantly branching tree in the photo with your grandkids and what kind of tree is it?

At least some part of your spirituality would seem to stem from your early association with trees; so many of them root downwards deep into the earth and soar upwards so that, from particular perspectives, clouds seem to rest on their crowns.

This is a lovely tribute which clearly flows from your heart. Keep on climbing!

Kind regards, Stessily


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Stessily-thank you for reading this and commenting. I love a true tree lover! The tree my grandkids are standing under is the same one in the first photo but I have no idea of what kind it is. I'm thinking it is possibly a crab apple, but I'm unsure. It is a tree at a beach in Michigan.

As for the spiritual connection, yes, I agree. There is a true connection there between the soul and the spirit in nature, such as trees. I wish for all people to touch and enjoy trees the way that I, (and you) do.


Daphne Shadows 4 years ago

My favorite is the weeping willow. Don't know what it is about it but it holds some kind of allure for me that I can't figure out.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Daphne-that is a wonderful insight...I used to have a 'tree symbolism' book at my fingertips; unfortunately it is somewhere buried amidst many things in my study. I suggest you google the weeping willow and investigate its symbolic meaning. I'm sure there is a solid reason of why this particular tree calls to you. It must be a spiritual connection there, no doubt. Enjoy your sleuthing. Let me know what you uncover.


Daphne Shadows 4 years ago

Oh this is a wonderful idea. I love research and symbolism even more! I'll definitely look this up! Thank you for the idea. It didn't even cross my mind.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

LOL I am truly surprised by this because, per your profile page, I would never have guessed that you had 'forgotten' some of your basic characteristics. I support you in your investigation and am delighted that you are excited about your journey into this subject. Enjoy!


Daphne Shadows 4 years ago

If it weren't for sticky notes, I'd forget my head!

In all seriousness, I keep a notepad and write down all ideas of what I want to research and blog on and hub on, etc, because there is SO MUCH that I'm interested in, that sometimes I forget the idea prior. I'm one of those people that if I don't get it down on paper, I'll forget. So, I'll have to write this down. ;)

And then, deciding on what to research first, is a killer. There's just so much awesomeness to be discovered.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Absolutely! To all that you said, haha. I am the same way. I have a special 'HP' notebook I use for my keyword search and another for my ideas. There is just not enough time in the day! I'm currently off of work for another week otherwise I would NEVER be doing this much on the computer. My job: 12 hour midnight shifts-usually 3 in a row from 7 pm to 7:30 a.m. is very taxing. When I get off I crash. If I don't I won't function at work. BUT, then I push myself to sleep only a half day on my first day off so I don't 'waste' the time...Unfortunately, it takes its toll on my body physically and mentally.

So, I am enjoying this particular time off. As for prioritizing, that's a good question of finding balance. I know some people who have several hubs started at once...I haven't been able to do that and keep it organized. I'm still trying to figure it all out, LOL


Violet Flame profile image

Violet Flame 3 years ago from Auckland, NZ

Thank you Denise for this wonderful hub about trees. There is always one golden rule for a place I live: it has to have trees. I always get terribly angry when I see people chopping trees. I growl at my father when I see him trim the trees in his garden over ruthlessly. I had my first big fight with my ex-husband when we first got married: I came home to discover he had some gardeners trimming the big trees at the front yard down to next to nothing! I was so furious and screamed at all three of them. They dared not repeat the same to the next tree. Sure enough, the poor tree they over-trimmed never recovered. I was heart-broken. The gardener was so apologetic he bought us a good tree to plant at the spot out of his own pocket. I just couldn't understand how anyone could chop them down so willy nilly. Actually, you just gave me an idea. I should really write about how I found my dream home with the help of the trees (and many other celestial forces actually), but the tree has a huge part to play in it. :-D Once again, Denise, thanks for being an inspiration xoxoxo (tree) Hugs xoxo


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Vera-that's a great idea for a hub! I love trees, as you can tell, and when I bought my condo I had that same criteria. Since it was part of a larger building complex my bedroom window had to open to trees. :)

I feel just as infuriated when I see lumber companies in the rural area where I live clearing land. It's heartbreaking to me.

Since I am also interested in celestial forces it will be a very interesting hub to read. Thanks again for your wonderful comments...I appreciate them. :) Hugs and Happy writing to you.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Hi Denise, thanks so much for the link, I will put yours on mine if you don't mind? loved this, it reminded me so much of when I was a child, there was a lake near my home surrounded by trees, and we were always playing down there and climbing the trees, I think thats where I get my love of them, thanks, nell


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 3 years ago from United States

Denise, an excellent hub!

I am a tree hugger and can feel their presence around me. Sometimes, I feel as if they are communicating to me...Loved Nell's hub and was directed here.

voted up and sharing it across


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Nell, yes, please feel free to link this one to yours. I feel the same way.

Hi Ruchira-thank you! I agree and also loved Nell's hub. It was very interesting. Thanks for the vote and share.


Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 3 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

Trees mean the world to me too.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you for reading, Ruby, I appreciate your comment.


Lane Reno profile image

Lane Reno 3 years ago

I love trees, too! I have never seen a Redwood, but hope to one day, up close and personal. I live in the Southeastern US where loggers are always plowing down forested areas, and strip mining companies clear off the lands in the quest for coal. It makes me heartsick to see a beautiful wooded property left bare and empty.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

I can completely relate to you, Lane, about the logging. That happens in my area, also, and it sickens me. Thanks for reading and I hope you do get a chance to walk through a redwood forest. It is such ambience; ancient presence and stillness all around.

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