Tree Time

When I was a child, there was much excitement about getting the Christmas tree. That was long ago, and most people found a place where they could chop down a tree to bring home and decorate. That was a wonderful seasonal adventure.

Years later, with a child of our own, the tradition continued. In mid-December, we went out with friends to find a tree, but by this time we were very aware that we should be selective about it and only take a tree that seemed to be crowding a stronger one. As a result we have rather crooked little trees until one year our daughter asked if we could, please, just have a proper tree. “One that doesn’t look like it came out of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” For a while after that we bought cut trees and, after our daughter left home, we bought small potted trees to decorate and planted them outside at the end of a season. We felt good to see them growing, year after year.

Trees have long been symbolic for humankind: The Tree of Life, the Tree of  Knowledge, the tree as a symbol of spirituality, interconnection, transformation and rebirth. Recently, we hear a lot about the tree as symbolizing the web of relationship. Suzanne Simard, the author of the best-selling book, The Mother Tree, says that trees are “the glue that holds the forest together.”

The practice of bringing evergreens in the home goes back hundreds of years. Egyptians, Romans, Celts and Vikings liked to bring various green plants and evergreens into their homes at the time of the winter solstice, in some cases to keep away evil spirits and illness and in others to celebrate new seasons, new growth and life over death.  But the practice of chopping a tree down and bringing it inside a house to cover it with decoration is a relatively recent practice which became popular in the Victorian period. It’s an odd thing to do when you consider how trees have supported and strengthened humans, physically and spiritually, for centuries.

I’m wondering if now might be the time for humans to pay more attention  to supporting the trees. Specifically, I’m thinking about Wildwood, the  77-acre ecoforest in Yellowpoint which lies within the traditional territories of the Stz’uminus and Snuneymuxw Coast Salish First Nations. Right now the society wants to purchase the 6 remaining acres that will complete the Wildwood property. These 6 acres are home to 35 Mother Trees (250 years or older) and about 45 Soon-to-be-Mother Trees (80 to 100 years). Your contribution will help to keep these magnificent trees safe in perpetuity.  

Read about it here: https://www.ecoforestry.ca/

Supporting the trees to concentrate on keeping trees alive in order to hold the forests together and help us fight climate change Might this not be the best gift you can give to your friends, family and community?

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