September 12, 2011


I’ve mentioned Joyce Kilmer’s poem, “Trees” before.  It begins:

                    “I think that I shall never see

                    A poem lovely as a tree…”

But as I walked through the park this morning, it occurred to me to ask, “Which tree is lovelier than a poem?” And is a deciduous tree lovelier in the spring or fall?  Or is an evergreen, tall and never changing, lovelier still? 

(QT Luong)

The questions came to me as I entered the west end of the reserve where a stand of deciduous trees have begun to color with hints of autumn. Massed together, they made quite a show of their changing hues, though it is still summer.  I continued to walk and noticed that in the middle area, the trees are mixed, some deciduous and others evergreen while at the east end the growth is all pine, their needled branches reaching toward the sky, soundless without the rustling of leaves. 

Whether their groupings were by chance or design, their distribution struck me as a mirror of human preference. Some of us like to surround ourselves with people who share our perspectives. Others prefer a variety of acquaintances. I could see the benefits of either choice. Deciduous trees are flexible and adjust to each season while the pines insist upon their permanence by defying the weather.

If I were a tree, I’d choose to live at the center of the park. I enjoy variety though I admit, of course, that the west and east ends of the perimeter are equally beautiful. Having a preference has little to do with truth or being right or wrong.

Much can be learned by observing the trees.