Saturday, June 5, 2010

Plant A Million Trees

I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
 --Joyce Kilmer, 1914

That has always been one of my favorite poems.   Trees have always symbolized the country, the wilderness from whence we came; their tall, stately beauty has overwhelmed me since I was a child. Wandering through grandma's woods was one of the greatest joys of my childhood. I used to love imagining that I had stepped into another world; in reality, I had.  The woods represented the earth before man stepped in to clear and settle...and even though they may first appear devoid of life, in actuality, they were so full of the animals, the birds, the reptiles, and the fairies.  Tree fairies sure were plentiful in those woods.  

And then, I grow up and that 18 year old restlessness sets in, and suddenly, the country life is not for me anymore.  Now I want that fast-paced city life...where 99 percent of the time, your feet hit nothing but concrete.  No wonder I have so many problems with my feet.  Oh, there are trees and grass and flowers and gardens here, but not enough.  There still remains street upon street, avenue upon avenue where nothing but glaring concrete stares up at you on these hot, steamy summer days.

I am blessed in Brooklyn.  I have a yard and there are plants and flowers all around me.  Once I turn the corner to head up my block, I complete my walk home in a wonderful, tree-lined street.  The area around my office is trees who still have a ways to go.  But, there are still so many more that are needed.

That's why this "Plant a Million Trees" program has me so excited.  For those that don't live in the city, this is a city-wide public/private program to plant and care for one million new trees in the city's five boroughs over the next decade.  It's such a wonderful program.  Trees are being planted in front of homes, businesses, parks, parking lots, along streets.  Trees are being paid for by city grants and private donations and are being planted by volunteers, members of the park's department, and what I find especially hopeful, is by the children who are being taught all about trees and how to take care of them.  Individuals can call in an 'adopt a tree'; that is, volunteer to take care of one of the newly planted trees.  

 Wonderful, right?  But, you know, you always have those party poopers who do nothing but complain about the state of the city, but are against anything the city does to try to improve.  Take over here in Brooklyn, for example.  For many years, there was this abandoned lot over by Coney Island.  It was nothing but a dump...probably filled with rats. Coney Island, itself, was pretty bad back; hubby was always against my Sunday visits. Well, the New York Mets wanted to build a minor league ball club there, and all of the residents raised such a stink about it.  Well, the Mets won, the stadium was built, and, wow, I cannot describe how the neighborhood was cleaned up after that.

Well, we are now going through the same thing with the trees...stupid reasons...the tree will block my view.  Of what?  The projects?  Or, I have allergies...what if a branch falls off and hits my car?  People have actually been harassing the tree planters. And I shake my head and question why.  But, I already know the answer.  Many of these people who are complaining know of no other life.  The inner city was where they were born, and where they will die...and they want nothing to interfere with the status quo.  They know nothing of the beauty of the country, and what you don't know, you fear.  How said that is!  How said it is for one never to truly experience the beauty of this earth!  

"He who plants a tree, plants a hope."--Lucy Larcom


  1. And THOSE trees allow them to breath, they purify the air. I grew up in a City but we always had lots of trees around. When i picked this piece of land to live on i picked it because of he woods that surround it . I love looking out the window and only gazing at green. But i do remember those young years myself where all i wanted was action lol

  2. Urban living without trees is bleak indeed.

  3. so many are disconnected from Mother Nature that they don't know just how soul-ful trees are.. they can't feel the energy of the trees - a very sad state of affairs.

  4. Sad... To turn their backs on the addition of some Natural World, to their environment. Sad...