Thursday, March 18, 2010


[Note: For the next few posts--or however long it takes me to come down from my manic high--I'm going to be posting all about the stuff I LOVE... and if you prefer depressing, angst-ridden posts by me, you'll need to scroll down a few days (I have plenty of them to spare, I'm afraid). I'm too happy to be sad right now.]

I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

-"Trees," by Joyce Kilmer

I won't quote the rest, mainly because the poem isn't really that good (but also because this is my blog, not Joyce Kilmer's). But I share Kilmer's sentiment, for I like pretty much nothing as supremely as trees. Why do you think I moved to Seattle? For the rain? Come on!

I have lived in many relatively treeless places in the past--Las Vegas, Kansas, Oklahoma, central Illinois (cornfields for as far as the eye can see)--and it wasn't fun. In the heat, the sun beats down without a break. In the winter, all I can see is gray. My soul dries out during the winter, crackling like the deciduous trees after an ice storm.

I know a lot of people love flowers--but my nose is sensitive, and I've found over the years that I react to many flowers. Easter lilies will drive me out of a church just so that my throat doesn't close up. Even now, walking through a spring-ish, flowering world, I find that my eyes water from the heady smell.

But remember that evergreen scent from a real Christmas tree? Heavenly. A divine mixture of earth, magic, and the color green.

Can you hear the rustle of the trees when the wind blows gently through them? Even in your mind, I know you can. Close your eyes and wait, and the same wind, touched with the warm green of the trees, will reach you. Julius Lester's novel Cupid suggests that if you stop and listen, you'll hear the message the trees are telling you, for the sound is their whispering, and only the true believer can understand it.

If you can, seek out the quaking aspen, my favorite tree EVER. It's from the poplar family, but is far smaller and more delicate than its cousin the cottonwood... Its leaves look like coins, green on one side, silver on the other, and when the wind blows through them, the whole tree shimmers like magic.

Check it out: Aspen Video

So, what are your favorite trees?


  1. Shakespeare, thank you for reminding me why I love trees so much!

    When you described your favorite tree, I couldn't help but imagine a metaphoric description of favorite aspects of yourself - smaller, more delicate, green, shimmering like magic. Any truth there?

    Your quaking aspen is a stunning tree. I wonder what your book of trees in the Northwest would look like if you created a beautiful book like Joan Klostermann-Ketels, who wrote and photographed PersonaliTrees?

  2. I like trees myself, though I never thought of Oklahoma as relatively treeless.

    Aspen's a pretty one. I've always been partial to birches myself. And, since flowers don't bother me, I like the flowering ones. Citrus trees have a gorgeous scent when flowering. I also like magnolia trees and redbuds.

  3. No fav... i love them all.

    I agree with you on the change of seasons, it sure gives life a wonderful kick in the but.


  4. Has to be the Giant Sequoia, even though it has been years they are a brand of life and bio diversity one never forgets.