“The wonder is that we can see the trees and not wonder more” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Without really meaning to, we’ve taken up a unit on trees.
This is, of course, the time of year that little people line their pockets with tree babies – acorns, nuts, seed pods. Children know, instinctively, that these are treasures.
Even more so, when they learn that each and every one holds a forest inside.
I tell them the names of the trees: Pecan, Bald (balled?) Cypress, Oak, Sycamore, Mountain Laurel, Cedar. They translate: Skinny Leaf, Feathery Ball-y One, The Ones From Our Yard, Smoothy Whites, Shaker Pod Tree, Peely Bark Tree.
I tell them about the amazing Banyan tree that astonished me on my honeymoon in Maui, and remains one of the most amazing things that I’ve ever seen.
We explore them with all our senses. We touch, smell and listen, climb and hang.
Did you ever smell the insides of the green leathery case that covers a pecan? It’s limey, evergreenish perfection.
Did you ever stop to notice how much life goes on in and around a tree? We saw fat black carpenter ants traveling bark highways, cicadas singing lovesongs from leafy heights, grackles gossiping among the branches, web worms building their silky city walls.
Did you ever close your eyes and try to guess the tree, just by touch alone?
We breathed. And gave thanks for them.
We sat under their shade and read the words, absorbed the artwork, that such trees have inspired.
(A most beautifully illustrated book that is apparently out of print)
(From one of my favorites, Gyo Fujikawa)
I can’t help but look at my little men, making their leaf rubbings and seeking out low branches, and think of the old adage, “great oaks from little acorns grow”.
How many rings do they add to my heart each year?
We have become tree huggers.