Arbor Day

Big Pine, a noteworthy tree on the Big Pine trail in Joshua Tree National Park. It’s arguably the largest pinyon pine in the United States. However, it’s also dead, possibly a victim of climate change. Out in the wilds, a dead tree can be left alone. But you’d want to remove it, if it was in your own front yard. And what a pain that can be. Hopefully I’ll return from Yosemite with pictures of trees that are still living.

I’m still on vacation, trying to survive the wilds of Yosemite National Park, which receives 5 million visitors per year and has all the modern amenities.

But today, April 30th, is Arbor Day, and I couldn’t resist pre-scheduling this post before decamping for the modern-day wilderness. It’s a famous poem penned in 1913, about the wonder and beauty of trees.

By the way, if you have trees in your yard, maybe you can relate to the sentiments of this poem. Trees are a lot of hard work, huh? You have to water the thirsty bastards. They shed leaves that require raking. Storms rip off branches, necessitating the use of chainsaws that can instantly slice through fingers and ankles. Wildfires torch them and then they, in turn, set your house ablaze. Or sometimes they just teeter over and crash right through the roof of your house.

Trees are dangerous, dirty, and cruel taskmasters. Humbug! Who needs them? Now that I’ve set the mood, here’s the famous poem:

Trees

by Joyce Killmore

I think that I shall never see,
A plant as hideous as a tree.

A tree whose sucking mouth is prest,
Against the foul Earth’s dirty breast.

A tree that stands in clods all day,
The muck, the yuck, the slimy clay.

A tree that may in summer wear,
Snakes and vultures in her hair.

Upon whose bosom crows have slain,
A robin’s hatchlings, in the rain.

Poems are made by tools like me,
But only a clod will plant a tree.

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