Confessions of a Tree Hugger

Hey handsome, where have you been all my life?
Hey handsome, where have you been all my life?

I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”

 ― Sylvia Plath

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It is mid afternoon. I am in a anticipatory mood. I have come to this place with one idea in mind. It doesn’t take long to get here and soon I am upon it. I wear a look of solid intent mixed with quiet determination on my face. It is obvious. I am obvious.  I spy the object of my affection just out of the corner of my eye; tall, rugged and deeply handsome. I cannot contain myself any longer. I walk right up and just like that I wrap my arms around tight.

“This is good stuff”, I murmur.  MM looks at me, at us, like I am out of my mind. I don’t care. Nothing can spoil this moment.  I feel the energy pulsating through my body. This feels so damn good!  “You should try this” I say to MM who shoots me one of those looks he gives from time to time that says:  There she goes again.

I've decided to hug all the trees I want and not care what others think.
I’ve decided to hug all the trees I want and not care what others think.

I continue with my hugging. The tall Redwood seems to hug me back. I think it likes it. I call out to MM. I find he has wandered down the trail leaving me and the tree behind.

I am fortunate to live so close to this place, to such a specimen as this. Yes, as you probably have surmised I am tree-hugger and in the middle of a tree hugging session. I have heard the term tree hugger for most of my life.  The image of aging hippies chaining themselves to old growth timber and militant activists may comes to mind when one hears that term.

It was several years ago when I first tried it. I was alone.  I was walking in a park and then just out of the blue I got a notion, why not literally hug a tree? I thought, and then I did. It was just a quick one, I didn’t want anyone to see me and afterward I admit I felt somewhat foolish.  That sort of thing was frowned upon back then. It was the 90’s and everyone was caught up in a sort of angry angst that did not translate well into nature-loving.

I was intrigued and as I got older and discovered that I didn’t care much what others thought. It was much more fun to go with my eccentricities than just to fight them, but I didn’t speak of this tree hugging hobby much. It was a personal thing. It was between me and the trees.

“I couldn't live where there were no trees--something vital in me would starve.”  ― L.M. Montgomery
“I couldn’t live where there were no trees–something vital in me would starve.”
― L.M. Montgomery

I hear every so often tree hugger used as a derogatory term; something someone should be ashamed of.  There is nothing wrong with loving nature, it is so, well…natural.  Trees are part of the natural landscape. All this concrete and glass we surround ourselves is not.

I will proclaim right here, right now that:

I am a tree hugger and damned proud of it!

I wholeheartedly recommend this activity and if you haven’t tried it, you should. Don’t care what others think or if you get strange looks–do it anyway. Set an example. The tree will like it and you will too. I guarantee it! The more people hugging trees, the more it will become socially acceptable. We could start a movement!

So hug a tree today and don’t be surprised if it hugs you back!

view-through-my-eyes-tree-near-work.jpg

Have a lovely day!

Strawberryindigo.


Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”

― John Muir

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Français : indienne
Français : indienne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I speak for the trees

A book sits on a shelf in my daughter’s room.  It is age worn and obviously “loved”  to almost tatters.  A name is written in childish scrawl inside the front cover. The name is my name. When I gave this treasured book to my daughter, I warned her not to follow my bad example and mark up books like I did.  I was four years old when I wrote that.  I was inspired by the words contained the book and I still am today.

The book is “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss.  It was my very favorite book as a child.  It remains that today.  Dr. Seuss inspired me to be a writer. He challenged  how I saw the world and delighted me with his rhyme and imagination. It was Seuss who sparked a lifelong love of the written word and in wordplay.   I feel his influence in everything I write.

    The Lorax is a brilliant children’s book written in rhyme by a master of the art. It’s message rings just as true today as when it was written in 1971.

For those who haven’t heard the story, I’ll brief you a bit; The Lorax is a cautionary tale on what happens when greed destroys the environment.  The Lorax is the title character and of course, my ultimate favorite literary hero of all time.

The Lorax is described as “shortish. And oldish. And brownish. And mossy…..”  

He appears on a stump and never lets up.

…..I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues….”

 The Lorax speaks and speaks but no one listens.  The story does not seem to end well as the last tree is cut down and the Lorax gets lifted away.

I would almost cry as I would reach the end and then…a ray of hope in the form of a seed on the last page. A promise for tomorrow and a chance to start again!  My hopes would surge with a jolt of electricity every time I read that part.

I read that book probably hundreds of times.  It shaped my thoughts about the environment and taught me how precious our national resources are.   I learned a great lesson from that book. I taught this same lesson to my children. This love and respect for nature and all life.

This book is a classic but it is only a book.  It is, however, based on a true story.  

 It is our story.  Humankind: our stupid greed and our folly and our plain bad luck and maybe our eventual self-destruction. 

Being a collector of quotes I stumbled upon this gem today and it is this quote that rekindled the flame that burns red-hot.

“America was once a paradise of timberland and stream but it is dying because of the greed and money lust of a thousand little kings who slashed the timber all to hell and would not be controlled and changed the climate and stole the rainfall from posterity.”

Don Marquis (1935)

For it is not my world or your world that is being threatened.  The true consequences of our actions will not truly be felt until after we are gone.  It is our children and their descendants that will inherit the mess we leave.

Some say that it is already too late to save the world. I beg to differ.  It is up to all of us to speak for the trees. To speak for Mother Earth herself and all the wonderous life and abundance that remains.   We cannot afford to be silent. Every voice added makes the cry louder and louder until one day it will be so loud that it will shake up the world.

Sometimes a great idea can start like a tiny seed.  If it’s nourished and cared for and all the conditions are right, it can sprout and take form and grow into a mighty wonderous thing….it all starts with a seed.

Have a good day!  Strawberryindigo.