What Trees Mean to Me

Trees mean different things to different people. To some, a tree might be a yearly hassle as the leaves fill their rain gutters to capacity. Another tree may remind someone about times spent with a much loved dog that was truly a beloved family member, and is now buried beneath the outstretched boughs.

To me, trees represent a stoic placeholder that tells me where I am.

A large Atlas cedar on the skyline may tell me I’m on the 1200 block of Main St. in Anytown, U.S.A.

A familiar craggy Western Juniper growing out of a slab of granite lets me know where my sleeping bag will be rolled out for the night…

Sometimes, the same tree may mean opposite things to different people!

An ancient Fremont cottonwood on an empty corner lot may be an eyesore or even a hindrance to a developer looking to “improve” the site.

Conversely, the same cottonwood may remind an elderly woman of her first kiss many decades prior…

Since the dawn of man, trees have been used as a landmark since they don’t really move around much, except in the wind.

Some trees are not just a visual indicator. The smell of Madrone flowers let me know that I won’t be needing my cold weather gloves for another five and a half months.

The sound of a stiff breeze filtering through Monterey cypress foliage on the beach before the first rays of sun hits the ocean tells me I will need a much bigger boat before venturing out for a day of salmon angling…

Acorns hitting the roof tells me the cold weather gloves better go back in the truck, as they will be needed soon…

Not a tree in sight makes me uneasy. This tells me I am either in Nevada, or on the moon.

A tree yelled WATER to westward voyagers during a pilgrimage through the prairie, and they bee-lined straight for it!

Yeah, trees crush houses, buckle sidewalks, and clog broken terracotta sewer lines. I don’t think they really do it to be destructive, but as a reminder to us to be a little more respectful about their presence, and power.

As a lifelong tree guy, I probably look at trees different than most. Not just that they have paid my power bills for the last 40 years or so, but really more a way of life. A waypoint of where I am in life.