Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Trees Are Sanctuaries (Part 1)

 Whoever knows how to speak to them;
Whoever knows how to listen to them
can learn the truth! 
They do not preach learning and precepts ~
they preach, undeterred by principles,
the ancient Law of Life.
(Hermann Hess)

Hamilton's Green Canopy Decimated by July Storm
was the recent Spectator's headline.

The massive July 19th storm is proving to be a historic urban canopy killer that uprooted  or maimed thousands of mature trees.  “Residents have reported more than 3,500 badly damaged or toppled trees,” said environmentalist service director, Craig Murdoch. “Hundreds were likely killed,” Murdoch said. “It will take months to determine how many supposed survivors are actually dead wood standing.”
The colour picture taken from Sydenham Hill says,
“So much to offer...and so much to lose!”


Impression of Trees:  A few years ago, Pablo and Patricia immigrated to Canada from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Having previously visited our country, they were awesomely impressed with our Lake and Bay, our escarpment, rolling hills, trees and wildlife.  Their first dwelling was an apartment along Lakeshore Road.  Although, not lakeside, they were thrilled to see trees, trees, tress that seemed to totally carpet the rooftops of houses and the panoramic view as their eyes rose northward to the escarpment's edge near Mount Nemo, Rattlesnake Point and Highway 6 as it winds toward Guelph.  To them, this was Nature's Heaven! With secured jobs, in a couple years, they bought a home in Dundas...again in a treed escarpment setting with easy access to local waterfalls and Dundas Valley.

Country Christmas:  I recall going with my father to the woods on our farm to select an evergreen tree for the festive season.  A beautiful blue spruce, he felled and placed it on the toboggan with me as a 4-year old child.  The fresh tree scent...the drifting foot-deep snow...the crisp winter air was all conducive to this happy experience.  My mother served us fresh hot tomato soup and cocoa.  Together we set up the tree in a pail of water...decorated it with home-crafted ornaments, garlands of red berries and candles.  (Today, I reflect on the thousands of trees that “die” to adorn our homes and shoppes!)

A Living Gift:  We had wonderful neighbours on Middlesmoor Crescent in Brant Hills.  Next door were Brian and Catharine who had a little girl.  Unfortunately, she developed a rare disease which could not be determined or medicated.  It was a sorrowful event when she died.  The tradition (as today) is to send flowers to the funeral home or directly to the family.  Flowers, though beautiful...die!  My family opted to purchase an evergreen tree (not deciduous...the leaves “die” when Jack Frost arrives). It was a stately  white pine to plant in their garden.  The family was emotionally touched and most grateful for  this most thoughtful gift, which to them, was a constant “view of their precious little girl.”  We were thrilled, when a couple years later, a son to them was born!

Caution, Endangered Tree Ahead stated the Hamilton Spectator.  Currently there is a huge hubbub about Butternut Tree #907 along the Queen Street Hill.  A couple mountain accesses in Hamilton have been closed due to necessary road repair and fallen rock from the escarpment wall. This Butternut Tree is making drivers see RED in traffic jams due to a couple accesses being closed!  Matthew Van Dongen writes, “It's tempting to think  cutting thoughts about Tree #907.  The single endangered butternut tree is at the root of the month-plus-delay in $4.3 million dollars worth of reconstruction work on the Queen Street hill, which usually ushers 20,000 daily commuters  up and down the Mountain. But look on the bright side.  A new report reveals the city spent a month tip-toeing around Tree #907 after a 'health assessment' found the tree showed resistance to butternut canker...a fungus that is wiping out the native tree species”

A nation that destroys the soils... destroys itself.
Forests are the lungs of our land …
purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.
(Franklin D. Roosevelt)

In the healthy reality of protecting our trees, it behooves ALL OF US to observe and preserve the life of trees...allowing them to propagate and provide safe undergrowth for future years!

Dedicate a Tree (in honour or memory of someone):  A long-time friend, Jill, experienced the death of her son, Stephen (the only son of 4 children).  He was born “brilliant” with a unique intelligence.  At Lord Elgin High School (now renamed Robert Bateman),  he was honoured with the presentation of the Sir Isaac Newton Award of Merit for his Physics and Science achievement (rated in the top 5% academically in Ontario).

It was common for him to have “out of body experiences” (OBE).  Some scientists consider OBE as evidence that a soul, spirit or body can detach itself  from the physical body and visit distant locations.
One in ten people has an OBE  once or more in his/her life.

Professionally, he, was a Systems Analyst for the Royal Bank in Toronto; he also successfully created, with a partner, their own computer software company.

At age 32, cancer struck him ~ yet he was determined to overcome it!  His brilliant mind controlled the severe pain he suffered as the disease ravished his entire body.  He once stated to his mother:
“Living on this Earth is an Illusion.
Death is Reality!”
September 12, 2013 is the 19th Anniversary of his death.

Since a small boy, Jill's family organized a family picnic at Lowville Park.  Even still today, the picnic is yearly held with many family members enjoying Mother Nature's beauty of the trees, the pavilion, sports fields   and the meandering of Bronte Creek winding and flowing its way to Lake Ontario. 

To commemorate his life, she requested from the Parks & Recreation Department...a tree to be planted in Spencer Smith Park (he was born at nearby Joseph Brant Hospital in 1961) and Lowville Park.  At the latter location, his tree may have been the first one planted in front of the old school house within the Park in memory of his death.  She selected a Red Maple...about 3 feet high...which today is a mature beautifully branched tree. A similar tree was planted at Spencer Smith Park...which on her nature walks, she frequently visits. At each location a plaque was installed with the following inscription:



His courage, intelligence and spirit

will always be remembered.

The plaque in Lowville is mounted on a rock.  When the Sorensen family arrives for their annual picnic they discover flowers strewn around the plaque to honour Stephen through his living tree!  On each anniversary, he is included in their celebration ~ a toast being made in their memories of him!

Of Interest:  One of his sisters, dreamed about him two weeks following his death. He was angry because the newspaper had printed his obituary.  She commented to him in her dream, “But you did die!”  He responded to her, “My brain is still alive!”

Today, at lunch, Jill and I (both with emotional tears)
recalled this sudden event that “stole him from her family.”
“Why?” we ask. “Only God knows!”

Perhaps Albert Einstein's words say it best:
Look deep into Nature...
and you will understand everything better.

And to you, Jill, I dedicate this Chinese Proverb:
Keep a green tree in your heart...
and  perhaps a singing bird will come.

Merle Baird-Kerr … crafted August 18, 2013
To comment...scroll down...may sign in as “anonymous”

No comments:

Post a Comment