I believe in trees. It sounds silly, right? Of course I believe in them—they are physical objects, and I’m pretty sure that no one is disputing their existence. But my belief is more than their actual existence: I’m not a Druid, but I believe that trees are sacred. They give life, food, and comfort, but one and a half acres of rainforest are destroyed every second, and scientists predict that the rainforests could be completely destroyed within the next forty years.
Growing up, I had a lemon tree and a grapefruit tree in our backyard. I was never a fan of grapefruit, but I loved making my own lemonade. My sisters and I would pick the ripe lemons from their hiding spots behind the thick green leaves, and sometimes we’d find our fingers bleeding from a stray thorn or too. We’d pull our big bucket into the kitchen, and squeeze the juice from the fruits. It would always seem to take hours to squeeze enough juice to make a pitcher of lemonade, but when we mixed the juice with cold water, sugar, and ice, it was always worth it after that first drink. Everything tastes better when you make it yourself.
In the very same backyard, there was a tall tree with wide branches, low branches. This was my reading tree. I would spend hours curled up in my favorite spot where the branches crossed to make a perfect chair with a Nancy Drew, or maybe Harriet the Spy or The Phantom Tollbooth. The sun always seemed friendly when it was filtered through those leaves. As I got older, I would sit there when I was angry with my parents, or if I wanted to talk about the expanding universe known as adolescence with my best friend. That particular tree is gone now, the victim of a particularly nasty desert thunderstorm, but some of my favorite memories are within its branches.
Maybe it’s because of these memories, or maybe it’s because I listen to a lot of folk-rock bands, but I love trees, and I proudly identify myself as a tree hugger. On top of oxygen and fruit, I believe they give us soul; which, in the long run, is much more important. After all, man cannot live on bread alone.
So I hug trees, recycle, and try to cover my carbon footprints in hopes of saving a tree for another kid who likes to read books and make lemonade.
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