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Posts tagged ‘Trees’


IMG_6316Over the last several days I have been playing in and around Flagstaff, Arizona.  The pine trees are impressive—and the scent in the air is wondrous.  The pine trees also represent resilience and hope for the future.  The hillsides are not as thick with pine as they were years and years ago, since they were cut as lumber.  Fires have also worked through the hills, thinning the forests.  But the trees are still here.  Thank goodness. IMG_6329 IMG_6376 Today being Arbor Day makes me reflect on how important trees are—and how we need to take better care of them, if we want them around in the future.  They are our future, literally and figuratively. I certainly hope you have been noticing and enjoying the trees around you, especially today.  Did you sit in the shade, climb to the highest branches, harvest some fruit, or maybe make a fire or carve your initials into the bark?  Have you hugged a tree lately? Maybe you even planted a tree? And today, like every day—whether you notice and appreciate trees or not—I know you have been breathing the oxygen trees replenish for us throughout the world.

How did you celebrate Arbor Day?  I am sharing some photos of a few of my favorite trees!

Some Ancient Bristlecone Pines–some are thousands of years old!



California Redwoods–some of the tallest and oldest trees on the planet!


redwood up

redwood path

Fallen Trees & Stumps from Petrified Forest, Arizona




Some Random Favorite Trees throughout the Years



Bryce NP, red rock canyon 139

Several Days with AJ & J 056



new birch leaf growth

tree new growth

pink tree

reflection 2

ribbon of highway

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“It’s the little things citizens do.  That’s what will make the difference.  My little thing is planting trees.”  Wangari Meathal

“Research gathered over recent years has highlighted the countless benefits to people, wildlife and the environment that come from planting trees and creating new woodland habitat.  It’s obvious trees are good things.”  Clive Anderson

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow.  The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”  Abraham Lincoln

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”  Warren Buffett

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant an apple tree.”  Martin Luther

“He who plants a tree plants hope.”  Lucy Larcorn

“Be like a tree in pursuit of your cause.  Stand firm, grip hard, thrust upward, bend to the winds of heaven, and learn tranquility.”  Dedication from Father of the Trees

“Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall.  Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone.  Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.”  William Alexander

“For in the future nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious that if it were made of gold and silver.”  Martin Luther

“What is a fish without a river?  What is a bird without a tree to nest in?  What is an Endangered Species Act without any enforcement mechanism to ensure their habitat is protected?  It is nothing.”  Jay Inslee

“Until you dig a hole, plant a tree, water it and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing.  You are just talking.”  Wangari Maathai

“I never saw a discontented tree.  They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.”  John Muir

“A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.”  John Muir

“A man doesn’t plant a tree for himself.  He plants it for posterity.”  Alexander Smith

“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago.  The second best time is now.”  Anonymous

“The act of planting a tree is, yes, a simple one.  But rich.  Rich in symbolism, rich in personal satisfaction, rich in the exercise of responsibility.”  Michael Fisher

“Only caring individuals can restore the places we inhabit.  The simple act of planting a tree not only restores the places we live, but makes us whole and powerful again.”  Paul Hawken

“Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets.  To plant a tree, one need only own a shovel.”  Aldo Leopold

“In the woods we return to reason and faith.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To exist as a nation, to prosper as a state, and to live as people, we must have trees.”  Theodore Roosevelt

“Tree are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.”  Rabindranath Tagor

“The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.”  John Muir

“The best friend on earth of man is the tree: when we use the tree respectfully and economically we have one of the greatest resources of the earth.”  Frank Lloyd Wright

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”  Greek Proverb

“I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.”  Willa Cather

Topic T: The Wonder of Trees

 “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The next best time is now.”   Chinese Proverb


Trees are incredible.  Really.  That’s all there is to it. 

I internalized the above truth at a young age because Mom appreciated trees. Grandma’s house had pear trees in the back yard.  The tree in our back yard sheltered squirrels and birds that we always fed.  The one in the front was good for climbing.  The picture above the couch was of a trail through some trees.  Oh, it always looked so peaceful and welcoming.  Mom’s favorite poem was even “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer, written in 1914.  I was quite young when I committed that poem to memory.  I have memories of Mom reciting it too!  

kilmer poem

aspen trunks blue skyYes, I always saw trees as special.  It was a given that trees were friends, symbols of life and hope, and eventually a connection to the spiritual.  As I got older, it became clear there is even more to know about these marvelous living organisms.  The facts show how integral trees are to life on earth, to our very existence.  Trees live just about everywhere.  They give us food, shelter and shade.  Without trees, we would not have fruits and nuts to eat, a fire burning in the hearth, or buildings to live in and paper to write on.  And we would run out of oxygen pretty quickly too.  

path thru oaks

one tall redwoodThe actual details are pretty impressive:

  • There are over 23,000 different kinds of trees in the world.
  • About one third of the United States of America is covered by forests.
  • According to a recent forest inventory, there are almost 247 billion trees over one inch in diameter in the U.S.
  • A tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and can sequester 1 ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old.
  • One large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to four people.
  • Each year, one person uses wood and paper products equivalent to a 100 foot tree 18 inches in diameter.
  • Over 5,000 products are made from trees.
  • In one year, an acre of trees can absorb as much carbon as is produced by a car driven up to 8700 miles.
  • Trees provide shade and shelter, reducing yearly heating and cooling costs by 2.1 billion dollars.
  • The tallest species of trees in the world include the Coast Redwood, Giant Sequoia, Coast Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce and Australian Mountain Ash.
  • Trees are some of the oldest living organism on earth.  Live Oaks can live to be over 500 years, many giant sequoia trees are 2,500 years old, and some bristlecone pines are thought to be over 5,000 years old.

reflection 2

pink tree along I-5pink fruit buds close upBut what truly impresses me about trees is their beauty and variety.  The many shades of green in the leaves are remarkable, and—by contrast—they showcase the white and pink blossoms of spring and the red and yellow leaves of autumn. Then there are the evergreens that demonstrate perseverance and constancy.  One tree can stand alone in a field or overlook a cliff, or it can crowd together with others in a forest dense with growth. Even when they die, they decompose and help new life spring forth.  Following a path through the trees as sunlight filters through the boughs is magical.  Standing next to a Giant Redwood or Sequoia reminds us just small we are in the scheme of things.

Bishop 1

New Growth

green leaves 1

one varigated leaf



palm trees

sitting in the shade

fallen log with robin

fallen log and new growth

Lone pIne monterey

Lone pine tree

pine trees

mid tree trunk

path thru redwoods

redwood trunks

Fallen Log, Petrified Wood, Petrified Forest, AZ

Fallen Log, Petrified Wood, Petrified Forest, AZ

Yes.  Trees are incredible.  Really.  That’s all there is to it.

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“You can live for years next door to a big pine tree, honored to have so venerable a neighbor, even when it sheds its needles all over your flowers or wakes you, dropping big cones onto your deck at still of night.”   Denise Levertov

 I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.    Henry David Thoreau

“Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk?”   Alice Walker in The Color Purple

“I never saw a discontented tree.  They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.  They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!”    John Muir

“The groves were God’s first temples.”    William Cullen Bryant

“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods.  But he cannot save them from fools.”   John Muir

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.”    Martin Luther

“There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but out hearts must be very quiet to hear it.”   Minnie Aumonier

“The tree is more than first a seed, then a stem, then a living trunk, and then dead timber.  The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky.”   Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation for old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”   Robert Louis Stevenson

“He who plans a tree plants a hope.”  Lucy Larcom

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”   Nelson Henderson

“Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.”  Rabindranath Tagore

“If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees.”   Hal Borland

“A tree never hits an automobile except in self defense.”   American Proverb

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”   Cree Proverb

“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees and in the flowers and clouds and stars.”   Martin Luther

“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”   e. e. cummings

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”   John Muir

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.  Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”   Franklin D. Roosevelt

“The trees are God’s great alphabet:  With them He writes in shining green across the world His thoughts serene.”   Leonora Speyer


(Pun intended, sorry!)

 Science Kids

North Carolina State University

Trees Are Good

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