This I Believe

Michael - Salt Lake City, Utah
Entered on November 7, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: nature
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This I Believe….

I believe in the wonderful life of the trees. I believe that trees supply life for much, much more than just the animals present with them. I believe in the vast sanctity that trees have constantly given to me. I believe in the awe-inspiring life of the trees.

I grew up in Oregon on the edge of an 11,250 acre forest, my backyard was this forest. I learned to love with every part of me the creeks, the flowers, the animals, the bugs, and most of all, the amazing scent of my backyard forest during the rain. The sound of the drops hitting every leaf as it comes down to wet my face and the crackle of fallen branches and crushing leaves under my feet. I couldn’t help but realize what a miniscule person I was every time I would climb some of my more adored trees! Being all the way in the top of the highest tree just above the canopy of the rest is such an astonishing feeling. I can feel every change in the direction of the wind because the WHOLE tree sways a very noticeable amount. It can get pretty scary up there. In the forest I’ve always had a very strong notion of being free. The way I could run out in to the forest and no one, not even my mother, not even myself at times, would know where I was. If I wanted to hide, I could and no one could find me, except for my dog, but that’s another story.

I don’t think I could begin to comprehend how I would feel if ALL the trees in the world disappeared. When I was young growing up in Oregon, one of my favorite places to go was “The Tree on the Hill.” I always climbed up this tree and went about twenty feet out on one of the limbs, this particular branch split in a ‘y’ shape forming two more branches. I used to nestle up and sleep in its small cove for periods of time. One day, some developers bought a small portion of land just near “MY TREE” and started bulldozing the land. I was so panicked that I thought it was the end of the world! They were going to cut my friend, my companion down, and having a very vivid imagination back then, I thought I was going to have to chain myself to the tree and get in a bloody fight with the loggers (like in The Hitch-Hikers Guide to The Galaxy). It never happened, and the tree still stands on top of that hill today. However, that feeling I had long ago comes back every time I drive up a beautiful canyon just to come around a bend in the road to see where a massive forest used to be, and should be, but instead see a whole mountainside of tree stumps that have been 100% logged out.

When I was young, my mother used to read to me, The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. I used to love it just for the crude drawings and the idea of the tree being this child’s, boy’s, and man’s best friend. It is now much later in life and I’m beginning to understand that the story is about unconditional love between a boy and a tree. The tree is very selfless and gives all it can to the boy: apples, shade, and vines. The tree then gives itself to the young man so that he can build with, and finally, a seat for the old man as a stump while they grow old together. Trees have shaped my life today in many ways. They have even taught me how I would like to treat others. Although I can’t prove that trees make decisions and act on self-will, I do know that those trees in my backyard forest always supplied me with the things I needed when I was with them. There is life in the trees, and I believe in the wonderful life of them.

* I guess I really am a “tree-hugger”