Generally speaking, before we decide what to do and how to do it, we benefit from fully understanding why to do it in the first place. This website is dedicated to TREES and our relationships with them as our friends and as protectors of Planet Earth. I strongly sense two chief why-to’s for such a partnership with trees. The past several years have been tumultuous for Americans to say the least. We have faced monumental issues of public health decline, economic insecurity, civil unrest, political turmoil, and catastrophic climate change. The result of these has been to threaten our well-being and to weaken our national unity as Americans. Trees are here to help. Healthy life on earth is unimaginable without them.
No plant family is more useful and helpful to us than trees. They might logically be awarded the MVP recognition as "Most Valuable Plant(s)." Along with their many tangible gifts, trees provide a sanctuary to escape the busyness, concrete, and air pollution of our cities.
The A-A-A Challenges: As we observe families, neighbors, workmates, and fellow Americans generally, we may sense Anxious Minds and Aching Hearts, and we may hear Angry Voices. We humans are most anxious when we are afraid or confused. These can be overcome with HOPE and TRUTH. Aching hearts result from a deep sense of loss. LOVE is the remedy. Anger is the result of feeling unheard or oppressed. It must be overcome with GENEROSITY and forgiveness.
HOPE is reborn with each sunrise. An inner compass points the way to TRUTH. We experience LOVE as we see the Robins feed their hatchlings and watch our children scamper through the woods. Trees show us the epitome of GENEROSITY. They stand firm with deep roots. Their canopies spread to shelter all creatures. Life-bearing seeds emerge each year--some as nuts and fruit. Through amputation and upon their death, trees yield their wood as many treasures for humankind and forest friends.
I go to the mountains, verdant valleys, and the forest to reconnect with all the creative forces of nature. I go to observe the majestic elk, graceful deer, furry critters, and colorful birds of all kinds. I go to see wildflowers and to feel the ferns brush against my legs. I go to sit by a meadow to view the incomparable beauty of lofty peaks and sky-blue lakes. I have read numerous articles that tell of those humans who are nature-bound with the intent to bathe their souls in the forest. They walk among the forest undergrowth beneath the foliage of trees to let a gentle breeze and the rich aromas of the woodlands wash down upon and around them. Some make the symbolic gesture of brushing their hands down their arms and legs to cleanse and refresh their souls.
Look to nature. With this website, our slogan is: As the sweet forest wind sweeps across our homeland, may we love our nation and our neighbors. This is the true purpose and promise of nature's creation.
Footnote: My devout friends might ask me about God's role in all of this. I reserve the mention of God at this Website out of respect for the diverse spiritual philosophies of humankind. But I must tell my readers that, as I view the stars in the heavens, watch the leaves of the Quaking Aspen trees move, and savor the sublime nectar of honeybees on my morning toast, my reverence for life on our planet increases. My soul prompts this reflection: A philosopher once asked a person of faith, "Where is God?" The reply, "Let me first ask you, where is God not?"
--Adaptation from John Arrowsmith (1602-1659)
I propose that trees can be a catalyst for strengthening our physical and mental health and help to preserve our family and neighborly relationships. As we partner with trees to defeat the adverse effects of climate change, they can help to unite us. Together we determine to defeat a common enemy--the devastating forces of extreme weather.
[As an aside] It occurs to me that I am a lifelong “Ford guy.” I've owned three Ford pick-ups. I worked for Ford Motor Company in Michigan for four years. I recall many conversations with other men (including my own sons) where we have debated the merits of a Ford pick-up truck vs. a Chevy pick-up truck. Such truck-vs-truck debates may be mistaken or taken too seriously. For instance, "Let me tell you that it's not about fix-or-repair-daily. Ford trucks are tough. I helped build 'em and I should know. Okay, I do see some awesome Silverado pick-ups out there." The point here is: If we let our disagreements intensify, these can weaken our friendship. We do sometimes let external issues--large and small--turn us into situational adversaries. Whether we are conflicted over the best pick-up truck, or which fast food restaurant makes the best tacos, or the ethnic differences we don’t get, or the contradictory political ideologies we espouse, these can make us foes. We may temporarily forget the core values that can unite us. By contrast, when we face a sinister threat to our national security, our freedom, and the safety of our families, we are quickly united and rightfully powerful.
I know there are contradictory opinions about climate change, but tornadoes and wildfires do not discriminate or differentiate between my house and yours. Our entire neighborhood may be destroyed. In recent months, we have watched homes burn in California and Colorado, homes obliterated by tornadoes in our heartland, neighborhoods devastated by floods in Puerto Rico and Florida, and the excesses of winter weather shut down one of America’s most vital corridors. In my home state, we have seen drought reduce the levels of ground moisture to all-time lows. Our farmers dug wells deeper and deeper. I worried about the thirsty livestock and even the Maple trees in our front yard. Utah's droughts threaten our snowpack and the skiing industry. This ultimately has a negative economic impact for all Utahns.
Great strength comes when we seize the common ground and mobilize ourselves to face an external enemy that is undeniably dangerous to us all. Being together in the trenches of such a battle ignites clarity of purpose and forges mutual respect. My dad was a WWII pilot in the United States Army Air Corps (later, the Air Force). He and my courageous mother knew exactly who our nation's foreign enemy was. My parents were joined by millions of Americans who put aside their cultural and political differences to defeat this foe that threatened everything we Americans love. The Greatest Generation didn’t claim to be heroes. They simply seized the moment to harness the enormous power of unified Americans to protect the core values of family, freedom, and faith. They responded as one nation.
This may sound surreal, but I propose that we Americans will get past the pandemic, solve our economic problems, remember to show civility toward each other, and mend our political system. In the meantime, we face an immense threat to the quality of life on our planet. The next two decades are critical to our success. Let’s join with the trees to fortify our physical environment--to keep it moist, green, and growing.
We need more trees. We need for glaciers to stop melting. We need more snow in our mountains. We need reservoirs and underground aquifers to be replenished. We need an atmospheric balance of all the elements. We need less carbon dioxide and more oxygen. We need a mighty army of Americans to protect our magnificent planet. Together with the trees, we can be custodians of our most fundamental business, agricultural, and even social assets--the resources of the natural world upon which our livelihoods do depend!
Instead of spending too much time debating the merits of pick-up trucks, let’s get out our wallets and throw our shovels in our trucks to go plant trees. Let’s pick up our chain saws (whichever awesome brands we may own) to cultivate and conserve the woodlands near our towns while listening to the trees and letting the ways of nature prevail. If you've got spare acreage, plant trees. Contact local forest agencies and conservation groups to get advice and assistance. Let’s conserve all water resources and be vigilant about air quality. Let’s preserve America the Beautiful, land that we love.
Go for a walk in the woods with old friends, new friends, and family. Listen to the wind in the trees and the birds singing. Talk of things that uplift the human spirit.
I am not merely a tree lover though I have hugged my Juniper trees. I seek to be a Tree Partner. I propose that TREES be a symbol of our unity and love of country! I want my great-grandkids to enjoy this planet the way Sharon and I have done. They’ll read in history books about the great climate turnaround we made happen. I invite you to join the partnership. The forest family will be with us.
The Tree Roost
Our Motto: As the sweet forest wind sweeps across our homeland, may we love our nation and our neighbors.
Slogan: "Forest Is the Tree Word for Family."
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