16, Number 93, October/November 2013 Trees, Nature’s Gift by Paula M. Wyman
I sit in quiet contemplation, looking out my window at the tree tops. Like old friends, they are always there for me. Acloud passes by, interrupting the sun’s rays and momentarily I am startled; they are still there.
Spruce and pine, red and silver maple, ash and birch swing and sway and dance in time to the tempo of the wind. I have looked out this window for years and marveled at the simplicity and beauty of nature. The trees I first knew were smaller and sparser and now, they are towering guardians of nature, imposing their presence on the neighbourhood.
These trees were nature’s contribution to delineate farmed land from the ravine, protecting the corn fields from nature’s storms. The ravine, home to raccoons, skunks, squirrels, and in the spring, nesting geese is sheltered by these trees. The trees form an oasis, which will continue to flourish undisturbed by urban expansion. Wind, rain, snow and heat have tried to bring down these majestic trees, and still they stand tall, stoic, unified. What stories can these trees tell?
What can they tell us of the sparrows, robins, blue jays, mourning doves, crows, woodpeckers and yes, even the owl that have called these trees home? Their arms opened wide in welcome
to birds building nests for their babies and so the trees become both home and battlefield to hundreds and hundreds of birds.
What can they tell us of the insects that feed off the leaves or spin webs and cocoons on twigs to ensure another generation of spiders and butterflies flourishes? Their branches are home to webs that glisten after a rain and to butterflies as they frolic through the leaves.
What of the stray deer and her offspring who have nourished themselves at their roots or used them as shelter from rains and winds and hail and sleet? The tranquil way the deer moves and nips at the grasses, taking only what she needs.
What of the sturdiness of their tree trunks, sap pulsing through and out to their extremities to feed and nourish, keeping the tree alive and vibrant? Their roots, unseen by the eye, burrow deeply into the earth, seeking nature’s water source to sustain life and teach us about our own roots, our own history, if we only listen to the trees. What is the gift of life these guardians of nature bestow upon humans in nature’s extended family?
Throughout their lifetime, some of my trees will break, be subjected to disease, but others will heal themselves and leave behind a family legacy - children trees.
In spring, the trees awaken from their slumber, little green buds ready to open, showing us the promise of things to come.
In summer, the trees portray life at its best. The youth of spring behind them, they participate in the cycle of nature’s force, being something to all. Mature and serene, they are our forest mothers, grandmothers and greatgrandmothers, tending to those smaller and weaker than themselves, protecting others from nature’s wrath, weeping and wailing from nature’s injustice.
In autumn, the trees are breathtaking to behold, with their crimson reds, burnt oranges and sun-bright yellows as they prepare themselves to become dormant through the winter, fully expecting to participate in another spring. It is true that for a sapling to survive and grow, another larger tree must fade and die, but such is the circle of life. Trees show us the beauty of self, of perseverance, of doing what is expected and not expected.
In winter, the trees bare arms, sway, bend and move, as they lift their sleeping arms to the sun, in homage to nature’s light source, taking the time needed to regenerate, rejuvenate and refresh themselves.
Individually, they are trees, beautiful, humble, and graceful. Maples with oaks, elms with ash, pines with spruce they show us what it means to live in harmony, united and together.
I bow my head to my old friends - I see standing in her shadows the grandmothers I never knew, the educators I learn life lessons from and the friends I will always have; I need only look out my window and they are there.