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Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Tree Hugger

By Lyn Burnstine


As you might guess, looking at my photos on this page and in my archives, I have a love affair with trees. The first tree I remember claiming as my own personal tree and friend was a persimmon tree in my grandmother's back yard, in whose branches I perched while playing my ocarina.

There were other trees on her farm that I was fond of, too: a big oak in the cow pasture where hung a high swing made from rope and a board, a maple in the front yard that held an amazing merry-go-round horse (lovingly restored by my sister and me with new, shiny paint and hung so that it dipped as it swung,) and the one in the photo that stood next to an old pig shack in the woods where we played.

We would giggle while we recited the limerick, "There was a young lady from Worcester, who used to crow like a rooster, she used to climb seven trees at a time, but her sister used to boost her," for, indeed, my older sister did have to boost me at this tender age of five, but not much longer.

Tree Hugger

Other homes came and went, bringing different varieties of trees than the ones I grew up with in Illinois - the cottonwoods, sycamores, elms, hickories, black walnuts and other deciduous trees. I grew familiar with live oaks festooned with Spanish moss, magnolias, dogwoods, and finally evergreens when I moved to the Northeast.

I now sit under stately beechwood trees in the summertime, writing my essays. Having now lived in the same area for more than 50 years, I have claimed many local trees as my favorites - some for their brilliant fall foliage and some for their graceful shapes, stark against a winter sky. I hope you enjoy getting to know them, too, by these images.



[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. PLEASE read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


What lovely photos. I too have been a lover of trees.

Enjoyed your reflections and pictures of trees. We live within a mini-forest. We notice the stages of the different trees and the interaction with the animal population. Squirrels racing around them, woodpeckers making a home in them, deer sleeping under them and us humans enjoying the shade they provide.
It would be hard to live without trees. Your story triggered memories for me of mesquites in Ariz. and spruce trees in northern Michigan. Thank you.

Did you ever think what kind of tree you would like to be?
I have a friend who is a "Steel Magnolia" and a neighbor man is a Coconut Palm. I am Ms. Walnut, as I am nutty and when I die my bones will make nice furniture.

Your photos, and thoughts, are beautiful. The last picture is just amazing -- what a tree! Thanks for sharing your passion.

Hi Lyn,

Your story was terrific..I love trees,too.

One of the nicest things I have in my house is a framed picture of my favorite tree taken in the four seasons.

I first thought of taking the picture because it was covered in beautiful white snow. That picture was so nice I took another in Spring when it was blooming(It's a dogwood),In Summer it has lovely green leaves and gives shade to my little neighbor who reads beneath it. Then I couldn't wait for Fall and the gorgeous Autumn color it turns.

So I placed the four pictures in the same frame in order of the Seasons and everyone who sees it compliments that beautiful tree.

That is a great idea, and I have been working toward that--I have two seasons so far of that last little, gnarled tree that I love.I am now waiting for snow to get the winter show!
Thanks everyone for looking and commenting.

Well, I meant winter shot, but show works, too!

Thank you, all your columns are treasures..trees are life to me as a city girl for my 70 years...I never tire looking at them, even pictures and yours are wonderful..love that picture of you too...thanks as always for a beautiful thought for the day...

I also love trees and now after living in China for 30 years the ginko has become one of my favorite trees. My daughter-in-la even gave me one for my last birthday, but having no yard in Seattle I had her plant it her yard. My grandson made a lovely marker to put under the tree which says, "Grandma Jo's Tree". P.S. Love your photos.

Lyn - Thank you for your post and photos - beautiful - living in Australia I am surrounded by amazing trees - much of their beauty is often to be found in the glorious bark of majestic trees such as the Salmon gum - however our native trees are not deciduous so we miss out on the glories of autumn and winter - when I get the opportunity to travel to the northern hemisphere I like to do so in autumn just to experience the beauty of my native Scotland at that time of year - and I feel that one has to experience a northern winter to fully enjoy the delights of Spring - so once again thank you.

I played in a couple when I was a kid, climbing them constantly. Thank you for taking me back...

No doubt about it--Trees are one of God's best gifts.

I agree with auntann. I love your trees and I love my special trees. Living in the Northeast gives us the blessing of all the seasonal changes. Thanks for reminding me of the beauties.

Yes, I am a naked tree--past gone- this moment is naked without my im put coming from my past mind==no problems-- Just deep dpwn in my roots, reaching out to bless and be LOVE.


Your writing soothes me, and your photos add beauty to my life.
As I read your loving essay, I thought: "What a great idea, to write about trees." Many have been great friends to me, too -- from the enormous sycamore in the back yard of my grandma in Indiana, to the equally mammoth maple in my own back yard in New York. These ancient overseers of my youth and elderhood have provided roots when I needed them the most. Thanks for reminding me.

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