Thirty years ago a family friend passed from the AIDS virus and trees were given out to those who attended the funeral. That Ash tree still stands on my parent’s property, a remembrance of that person, a testament to his spirit, in a tradition that has been repeated by many cultures throughout time.
As a teenager, I visited the majestic redwood forest and witnessed first hand the grandeur of Muir woods. Yet somehow I needed that sacred Ash tree imbued with Tay’s spirit, that connection, a projected association to provide me with a sense of a tree as a living entity…. it offered me a spiritual reverence for trees that I had not possessed before.
Consider all that trees do for us as humans, they are a species that sustains, rather “cradles” our survival … they provide oxygen, control soil erosion, offer shade, filter air pollution, recycle water, sequester carbon and significantly more.
Spoken more eloquently by Jim Robbins, author “The Man Who Planted Trees”…. “We take them for granted, but they are a near miracle. In a bit of natural alchemy called photosynthesis, trees turn one of the seemingly most insubstantial things of all -- sunlight -- into food for insects, wildlife and people, and use it to create shade, beauty and wood for fuel, furniture and homes. Trees are nature's water filters, capable of cleaning up the most toxic wastes, including explosives, solvents and organic wastes, largely through a dense community of microbes around the tree's roots that clean water in exchange for nutrients, a process known as phytoremediation. Tree leaves also filter air pollution. A 2008 study by researchers at Columbia University found that more trees in urban neighborhoods correlate with a lower incidence of asthma.”
As global warming encroaches upon us, thank goodness there is more than the Lorax that speaks for the trees. I am presently reading “The Man Who Planted Trees” by Jim Robbins. The book is based around David Milarch, a hard living, yet honest man, who from a near death experience heard voices that told him it was his mission to save the planet. With literally no money, against all odds, this “Johnny Appleseed-ish” mystic, in a most organic fashion (excuse the pun) has begun to repopulate and hopefully initiate a trend to reverse global warming by cloning the world’s sturdiest trees.
Milarch is founder of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive where they collect, propagate and archive the genetics of ancient champion trees from around the globe and… plant trees to reforest the Earth. “We’ve sawn down ninety-seven percent of all old growth redwoods. There’s three percent left. Of that three percent left, only ten percent is protected. Ninety percent of what’s left could fall to the axe or chainsaw. So three-tenths of one percent is left of a forest that was here for ten thousand years. Now if you were down to three-tenths of one percent of gasoline for your car, or three-tenths of one-percent of your life savings, wouldn’t it be time to do something?”
Please read this book. Then plant a sacred tree.