Happy National Tree Day! Let’s take a moment to celebrate our native trees and the fact that without them we wouldn’t have our beautiful forests. Also happy first day of Autumn!
Trees have been an inspiration to me for as long as I can remember. I’ve been trying to think back and figure out when I became so fascinated by trees and I always think of my beloved childhood tree an Eastern Cottonwood. That tree and I grew up together and it was the definition of a grand gentle giant. Towering over every tree in the forest with a massive trunk that split into several limbs perfect for climbing and hanging out. I’d enjoy sitting on one particular limb and gazing out at the yard as though I were perched on a throne. It wasn’t that high off the ground but that was the highest I would ever dare to climb.
A unique trait about the Cottonwood is that on spring days I’d come home from school and it would be snowing! A blanket of cotton would cover the ground and be floating on the breeze. As much as this was a little messy and annoying to get it stuck up your nose it was a special time of year and very memorable.
During our impressive Manitoba prairie thunderstorms my family would look out the back window at the Cottonwood to see how much it was swaying in the storm. If the branches were bending to the point of nearly snapping it was a good idea to head into the basement as we were in for some severe weather. After many a storm we’d pick up the broken branches on the lawn and often find small sharp twigs harpooned into the grass. The wind would send the twigs flying so fast they would be stabbed into the ground which was a little unsettling to see how deep they had pierced through. Nature is quite a force!
As the saying goes all good things must come to an end and the Cottonwood was no exception. My dear tree had grown so large it was becoming a safety concern if it were to fall on the house during a storm. Parts of its trunk were starting to show signs of rotting and mushrooms and fungus were growing all over. I never thought the day would come where we’d look out the back window and not see the gentle giant.
It provided shade over the pool, a place to sit and dream, the backdrop to countless family photos, a magical snow fall in spring and an awareness of how remarkable nature can be.
I wish I had access to older photos to show when the Cottonwood was in its full glory. The most recent photos and probably the saddest were of it being trimmed down and ultimately the end of this great tree. But the fairy photo on the left is my aunt who modeled for me so I could turn her into a tree fairy. She is perched upon a mushroom growing out of the Cottonwood tree.
If you’d like to share a tree story I’d love to hear all about it. I hope I’m not the only one who has such an emotional attachment to trees! Have a wonderful tree day and hopefully this story shared a little about why trees are so special to me.
Something fun! Plant a virtual tree and enter a contest for a trip to Fairmont Banff Springs. Tree Canada will plant a real tree on your behalf. How lovely! National Tree Day Challenge – Plant a Virtual Tree