The Graciousness of Trees

Down to her frillies 3

I grew up climbing trees. I loved to sit in them to read, and later when I was a teen, sneak up and smoke a stolen cigarette while reading. I appreciated their bounty too, as well as their presence. The many kinds of apples in my grandfather’s small orchard, the four kinds of pear trees in the garden, the raspberry bushes I was allowed to pick from were an important part of my growing up. I was always surrounded by growth and nature.

I realize now that I was extremely fortunate in having this small territory belonging to my family in which to adventure. Safely ensconced on the outskirts of a small town, the land where I grew up had originally been developed and built on by my great grandfather, an amateur horticulturalist. He died before I was born, so I never knew him. However I grew up with its many and various trees as well as the fruit trees, the lilacs and the roses he planted.

His gardens were extensive. His daughter, my Great Aunt Alice with the help of a gardener kept it all going. He certainly had plenty to do, and occasionally had another man to help him. The chickens provided fertilizer and the vegetables were very tasty.

Most fortunately I had the freedom of a good number of acres to roam around in as I pleased. I was given this from the age of around six or so, and I felt quite safe and free. There were lots of kinds of trees to climb. To my mother’s despair I probably ruined more clothes than the average girl, tearing them on branches or staining them with pine pitch and bark. I lived in the country and there were no neighboring children for me to play with. It was as though the trees I climbed and played around were my big friends. I have always been grateful for their company.

My father was a horticulturist by profession. Working for a tree company he supervised the care of the trees and plantings of his many clients.  He would have  the recent articles about how trees communicate with one another and even how they protect one another from invasion by noxious insects. Trees, like animals, deserve more of our respect than they have had in the past. Researchers estimate that if every city dweller spent just 30 minutes per week in nature, depression cases could be reduced by 7 percent.

Trees provide for life on earth, and have been influential in its evolution from the beginning of life here. Scientists have lately begun to understand more about trees’ ecology, studying the way they learn to survive and to thrive in difficult conditions. As we have learned that animals, birds and even insects exhibit signs of intelligence through their behaviors and use of tools, we have gained in respect for them. Now it is the turn of trees. Grinding them up to make paper may become a thing of the past. Trees are sentient beings and perhaps one day we may even learn to speak their language.

 

DNA Reflections

“Could that be so-and-so?” I ask, then I recall

when last I saw that face; it could not look the same.

Who was I then? Who am I now?
have the interleafing passages of time
made changes? My mirror
reflects both now and then.

As leaves fall branches reveal their truth.
As years pass, faces describe ours.

Our DNA resembles that of trees:
rooted in cell memory, skin bark encloses our flesh.
No birds nest in our hair,
only random thoughts
and an occasional prayer.Image

Photo and poem by Tasha Halpert

DNA Reflections

“Could that be so-and-so?” I ask, then I recall

when last I saw that face; it could not look the same.

Who was I then? Who am I now?
Have the interleafing passages of time
made changes? My mirror
reflects both now and then.

As leaves fall branches reveal their truth.
As years pass, faces describe ours.

Our DNA resembles that of trees:
rooted in cell memory, skin bark encloses our flesh.
No birds nest in our hair,
only random thoughts
and an occasional prayer.

Words and images by Tasha Halpert Copyright 2013Image

Leaves

Image

                                                                                                             Photo by Chris Lorenz
My days are leaves that grow
on the branches of my years.
I do not know their measure,
only their unfolding.

Beneath my feet leaves crackle:
days that unfurled, took in light
and dropped
to nurture roots and branches.

The ever changing self I know
is not twig, trunk or branches,
but the ephemeral leaves–
days, selves, unfolding

Tasha Halpert