A Year of Living Dangerously, Day 62: Growing Among the Trees

“Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees.” – Karle Wilson Baker

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Recently, I was talking with a friend about our shared love of hiking in the woods. Isn’t it interesting that we call it “the woods” or “the forest”? In our language we make it plain just whose domain it is after all. When we walk there, we walk among them and trespass, in a way, on their territory. Yet they are always welcoming. Like that great, good friend with whom you can sit in silence for hours and feel love and acceptance, they are a steady and comforting presence.

I have come to see trees as my friends. Some people might think me a tad crazy but, yes, I do talk to them on my hikes. I take a moment to thank them for letting me in their space, and to thank them for all that they give me. I will touch a tree or two on purpose during a hike, feeling the bark, the solidity and reassurance. Mostly, I find peace of mind among them like I find among no other living thing on the planet.

They exist by the millions in my part of the world but they have millions of different personalities and appearances. We owe them so much and they ask so little in return.

I love trees. That is probably obvious by now. What follows is a brief gallery of some of the photos I’ve taken of trees on my walkabouts in Ontario and Quebec, along with some words from other people about trees. I hope you enjoy it and I hope it inspires you, if you haven’t walked among them for awhile, to get out and greet the trees and let them help you grow a little taller today.

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

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In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful. – Alice Walker

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On pavements and the bark of trees I have found whole worlds. – Mark Tobey

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The difficulty with this conversation is that it’s very different from most of the ones I’ve had of late. Which, as I explained, have mostly been with trees. – Douglas Adams

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Like people, trees are all individuals. – David Hockney

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

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Trees love to toss and sway; they make such happy noises.  – Emily Carr

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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

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