Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with creating a manifesto reflecting wonders, curiosities, and delights currently captivating me – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words.
X is for…
xylophilia – a love for forests, woods, groves
I’m delighted that today, the last Friday in April, happens to be National Arbor Day, Being the tree lover that I am, there can never, in my opinion, be too much praise of trees, and it makes my heart happy that there is a holiday that celebrates them and encourages planting more.
I’m much taken with Rabindranath Tagore’s observation:
“Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.”
Isn’t that a lovely sentiment to hold especially on Arbor Day?
One of the things I most love about Spring is talking walks and watching the trees as they change day by day, week by week. I never cease to be amazed and filled with delight when the trees start budding and then tiny little leaves start unfurling. In that magical seen-only-briefly-only-in-early-Spring color – that luminous yellow-light-infused green.
Of course it’s not just during Spring that my love of trees flourishes – I’m an all seasons devotee. Many years ago I came across the work of Jen Delyth, Welsh artist and author, and her words really helped ignite and deepen my connection and exploration of the magic of trees. She holds that there is three-fold wisdom in trees – the leaf wisdom of change and ever releasing; the wisdom of the branches which is of growth and ever reaching; and the wisdom of the roots, which is endurance and ever deepening.
Although I live in a major metropolitan area in a neighborhood with very small property lots without room for backyard trees, almost every house on our block has a street-side tree. Every day I think of their benevolent presence watching over our neighborhood, holding branch hands across the block, welcoming birds and squirrels, and the occasional errant kite; keeping watchful eyes on all of us. Mostly they’re silent and observant, perhaps frequently in deep meditation, but they whisper in the breeze and dance in the wind, and all of it, all of it, makes me very happy.
It wouldn’t be Arbor Day without tree planting, but it’s too cold to actually plant and as I’ve said, there is no room here. So I participate each year by donating to charities who do plant trees, and if that’s a possibility and interest to you, I encourage you to do so as well if you’re inspired. But I do offer a caveat to consider. Know your charity. Many tree-planting organizations hide the fact that when they plant tree seedlings, they go into locations where they may or will be logged for profit or coppiced. I want to think any trees I plant will be a blessing to the environment and our beautiful Earth for a long, long time.
Tree planting thoughts aside, another fun way to celebrate Arbor Day might be to check out TreeWhispers. It’s a lovely on-going project initiated back in 2000 by artists Pamela Paulsrud and the late Marilyn Sward, gathering round, handmade papers from participants around the world. Each piece of paper offers a memory of a tree or tree story. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to contribute.
I think I well understand the ecstatic words of Hafiz:
“The forest, letting me walk amongst its naked limbs, had me on my knees again in silence shouting – yes, yes my holy friend, let your splendour devour me.”
I joyfully admit to xylophilia – I hold trees in great love and appreciation as guardians, ancient wisdom keepers, and deeply-rooted friends.
What about you? If you were going to sit with a tree in conversation what might you say? Have you planted any trees? Love a particular tree, or have a favorite species? Do tell – you know I love to hear.