Thoughts of a Natural Born Tree-Hugger

Do not call me a ‘strange child.’
What I am telling you is true.
Humans are not the only ones capable of communicating with each other.
Everything in this world has its own language, whether you understand it or not.

While holding hands of leaves,
I learned the wordless language
of the trees.
Without one word spoken —
Trees will reveal the mystical path of nature
to anyone who takes the time to listen.

And yes, it’s true. I admit it. Long before I ever heard the term, I was a natural born ‘tree-hugger.’ Every time I have leaned on or hugged a tree, I have immediately felt its strength and warmth. Couldn’t ask for a better friend than a tree—unconditional love defined!
***In 1956, my mom took the monochrome photos above and developed them in a ‘darkroom’ that she created in the basement of our house (mom would have loved Photoshop). An accomplished artist and photographer, she left this world in April 2002. Thank you for these wonderful memories, mom!***
Time travels on. Although I have grown older and my life has changed over the years, I can honestly say there is at least one thing that has remained the same — my love for trees.

A few years ago, on a trip to the island of Kauai, I had the honor of meeting a few “Moreton Bay” fig trees. What an amazing sight! Once I climbed into those huge roots and felt their energy, I wanted to stay there forever.

After my experience there, I highly recommend traveling to the Kauai Allerton Garden to see these magnificent Moreton Bay fig trees. In 1992, because of their prehistoric appearance, director Steven Spielberg even decided to include them in his movie ‘Jurassic Park.’ Their presence commands respect from all who pass by!
On a different note:
Trees can also help with drainage problems and swampy conditions. We had a natural swale in our backyard in Virginia and whenever there was a heavy rain, a river of water appeared and ran way too close to our basement door (in my opinion). To correct the situation, we planted 2 little River Birch trees along the path of the swale and hoped for the best. In the photo below, you can see the little trees in the background with mulch covered roots surrounded by water (they were rather overwhelmed).

About 6 years later, those little river birch trees were as tall as our colonial house (3 stories high). They absolutely loved a soaking rain, and I loved them for making it easier for me to sleep at night without dreaming of Noah’s ark, The River Birch tree can drink an amazing amount of water with no problem at all. In the 13 years we lived there, not one drop of water ever entered our house.
In early 2020, after my husband and I moved to Texas, I joined the San Antonio Arborist’s “Tree Bud Citizen Forester’ program. I went to a class that taught how to properly care for and maintain trees, and then I volunteered with the arborists a few times–trimming branches of small trees at local parks.

But then, Covid-19 appeared and the whole world fell into a strange ‘Lockdown.’ Freedom that I  had taken for granted, vanished. Suddenly, no one was allowed to do anything anymore, except stay home in fear. This unexpected lockdown was only supposed to last for 3 weeks, but it went on and on and on. We were originally told this was for our own good, but soon I started to see a lot more evil than good and that worried me.
Now after 1 and 1/2 years, the not so short ‘3 week Covid-19 lockdown’ might be coming to an end. I pray this is true! What good is living if the only thing we are now free to do is worry about dying? Constant fear and stress is extremely unhealthy. I don’t know about you but, aft enduring the past few years of confusion and craziness, I definitely need a hug from a tree– which is one of the best medicines of all.

About Mary Strong-Spaid

You can find me any time wandering around in my own mind gathering thoughts.
This entry was posted in Memories, Nature, photography, Trees and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Thoughts of a Natural Born Tree-Hugger

  1. Timothy Price says:

    You are an adorable tree hugger. Those “Moreton Bay” fig trees are amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, thank you!
      My mom used to sing “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary –and I think there was some truth to that. 🙂 Didn’t talk that much and preferred the world of ‘green things’ over people most of the time!
      In September 2012, one of my grandson’s created a short story with me that we named “Revolt of the Green World.” Very creative–I’m so glad we had the chance to do that together. It’s something I will always remember. When I printed it out for him, he said: “Wow! I have a first edition.”
      Truth is–he has the only bound and printed edition.
      It’s been almost 9 years since then.
      Sigh. As usual, time travels on….

      Revolt of the Green World

      Liked by 2 people

  2. What lovely pictures your mother took, real treasures, capturing your essence. I had a beloved tree when I was little, a hemlock I used to climb and enjoyed its protective energy. More recently, when we were self-quarantined (high risk group), we started exploring all the open spaces and trails in our area and those walks in the woods kept us sane! Tree energy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • In the 1950s and early 1960s, My mom spent hours down in a dark section of our basement–developing her own photos. I remember she had to work with about 3 different pans filled with chemicals to make photos appear. She would have loved Photoshop and color printers. No more chemical wash needed!
      My yard was filled with Oak trees, and we (my brothers and sisters) did climb up and sit in the branches almost every day. It was great.
      As far as the lockdowns and self-quarantines, I am considered to be in the high-risk group also (65 and older) too. Couldn’t even go to the parks for quite awhile, because they were shutdown also, even though there was more than enough room for people to come and walk without bumping into each other. Didn’t make any sense to me. Seems that walking through the woods and being outdoors in the sun (Vitamin D) would have been the wisest thing to do.


  3. Beth says:

    Love trees too!!! I hear them rubbing together all the time in our woods! Beautiful writing!
    Thank you!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Beth,
      For the past few weeks, I have been volunteering at Government Canyon State Natural Area. Many people come to walk the trails because they want to listen to the comforting sounds of a breeze blowing through the trees and birds singing. It is much better to come in the early morning at this time of year though, because it can get Texas hot very quickly. An afternoon walk is still OK, as long as you bring plenty of water to drink!


  4. katelon says:

    The entire covid stream has been a very successful dark agenda, and in spite of opening up, they are still running it with suggestions of masks, vaccinations, booster vaccinations, variants, and in England, you have to check in when you go in a place so you are tracked if a covid positive test shows up from someone that was there when you were….so the surveillance goes on.

    That’s so cool you got to climb among those roots. There is a large tree like that in Balboa park, San Diego, but it has a fence around it. I’ve always loved trees. I used to climb out my window and sleep in the branches of a tree in our backyard. I’ve always known that rocks, trees, flowers, plants, etc all communicate.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh sleeping in the arms of a tree….that sounds wonderful.
      As far as the ‘covid stream’ goes, I am extremely concerned about that. Although the lockdown is over, it feels temporary because they are still ‘running it’ as you say, with talk about the need for more vaccinations, monitoring, tracking, and lockdowns. It is unnerving. It seems that the virus is being used as an excuse to control everyone around the world, and I don’t like that at all. I am far more afraid of the loss of freedom than I am of a virus.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely post Mary. I too love trees, and hug them, tho I came to it later in life than you did. Love those pics your mom took – so sweet.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thanks Alison.
    I hope you and Don are doing OK.
    Hugs to you both!!
    You know, as I grow older, I find that my knees sometimes sound like old tree branches in the wind.
    Now I suppose I should give myself a hug too. 🙂


  7. David says:

    Since you mentioned Kauai, in Kapiolani Park in Honolulu, they have (or had) huge banyan trees. On Kalakaua Avenue, past Waikiki, it used to be tree-lined. I don’t know if it is anymore since it’s been a long time since I was there.

    Of lockdowns, certain people do require having a minder saying, “don’t do this, don’t do that.” Most of us don’t need a minder. What I didn’t get was closing off parks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t understand closing the parks either, especially the large ones. lf I am walking on a trail, I like to see another person every once in a while. That way I know that I am not totally and completely lost.


  8. KDKH says:

    I live in Colorado, and so many people headed for the outdoors during COVID that the state and national park systems were overwhelmed. They still have not recovered, and some popular spots had to close in order for the ecosystem to recuperate.

    I have also been to the Mortonson Bay Fig trees on Kauai and have enjoyed communing with trees. I grew up on a semi-dessert area and the only trees that lived were the ones that were watered. I spent many an hour in the branches of my neighbor’s tree. It was close comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used to climb high into the oak trees in my backyard and sit up in the branches for hours. That was years ago now. I forgot about the tree climbing….thanks for reminding me! I don’t have a large enough tree in my small yard where I could do that now. Probably wouldn’t be that safe to do anymore. At my age, I will have to be content to climb high on memories.

      Liked by 1 person

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