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Trees-Magical, Mysterious, and Sacred

Updated on November 17, 2013

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

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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