April 22, 2010
“I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.”
– Joyce Kilmer
It was a tiny cartoon in the daily paper that I remember cutting it out and adding it to my scrapbook of cartoons when I was about eight years old. It was a line drawing of a tree, with the caption, “Gee, I’m a tree!” A fun take on the word, geometry. Yuck, yuck, yuck… (This was also the seed for my chronic need for pointing out bad puns. ;o)
Lately, I’ve been thinking back to find out how long I have had a love of trees. I remember my Grandmother would always comment on them when we were out on walks or at the beach. Nammie could identify them by the leaf, cone, bark or branch it seemed. She worked for the Forestry Department for the University of Toronto as a secretary and boy, did she love her trees! Years later, I tried to find out where her forestry library had gone, but to no avail, I’d love to look at them now.
My other, earliest memory was the pine forest next to our farmhouse on Lake Ontario. The farm was where my Mom, and the five of us, her darling children, would spend the summers. It was a break from life in Toronto, but we were assigned to painting fences, feeding the cows, clearing fields and peeling logs for fence posts every day – and there wasn’t much time to spend playing, Dad made sure of that.
But when I did get the chance to play, I wanted to escape, so I went to the pine forest. It started on the other side of the barn and went for yards and yards. The distance seemed long, but I was just a kid and everything was bigger back then. The brothers and sisters didn’t think this a source of fun and it must have sounded boring to them, so I was often on my own which was fine with me.
Once inside the forest, it was really quite magical – all the outside sounds were instantly muffled – I remember always being surprised by that. The thick carpet of pine needles felt soft and deep under my feet, and I could see far down the rows of trees as visions of fantastical creatures danced in my head, thinking that maybe I would meet one if I hung out here long enough. (It was only after I began tree planting in interior BC years later, that I realized why they were planted in rows.)
Further into the grove and almost to the property line, there was a small clearing of trees where the sun could shine down on a patch of green grass. It was there in that patch of grass that I used to lay and be with the forest, immersed in my own peaceful fantasies and conjuring up stories full of more trees and more magic.
Years later, I’m now a confirmed plant-aholic, with a solid addiction to miniature and dwarf conifers and just about anything that flowers – so much so, I created a business around it and have taken Mother Nature as a business partner. Who knew what simple seeds planted in childhood could do?
Happy Earth Day!
And now anyone can grow a tree anywhere: Checkout our wee trees here.