But before I invite you to wander down that wooded path with me, I wanted to share just a brief history of Arbor Day, which I found on the Arborday.org website. I love the history of this event because, like many important environmental actions in this country, it was planted by an enthusiastic environmental writer.
“Among pioneers moving into the Nebraska Territory in 1854 was J. Sterling Morton from Detroit. He and his wife were nature lovers, and the home they established in Nebraska was quickly planted with trees, shrubs and flowers.
Morton was a journalist and soon became editor of Nebraska's first newspaper. Given that forum, he spread agricultural information and his enthusiasm for trees to an equally enthusiastic audience. All of the pioneers missed the trees of their homelands. But more importantly, trees were needed as windbreaks to keep soil from blowing and for fuel and building materials, as well as shade from the hot sun.
And now, here are some of my favorite tree memories:
Morton not only advocated tree planting by individuals in his articles and editorials, but he also encouraged civic organizations and groups of every kind to join in. His prominence in the area increased, and he became secretary of the Nebraska Territory, which provided another opportunity to stress the value of trees.” (You can continue reading about the history of Arbor Day here)
- My sisters and I planting a peach pit in our backyard in Mt. Holly, NJ and seeing it grow into a beautiful tree. I think we were all surprised when that wrinkly old pit actually became a tree.
- Long walks through the woods with my sisters and mother growing up in NJ, where I feel my love of nature really took root and grew.
- Long walks through the woods with my sisters, friends and others throughout my life. Walks in the woods are such a great place for nurturing relationships and helping them to grow.
- The walks I used to take through a wooded park with my mother as she eased into her senior years.
- The beautiful oak tree that my brother in law donated and planted in that same park in memory of my mother when she passed away.
- Every single day on the beautiful piece of wooded property that my husband and I now own.
- The GORGEOUS wooden bench that my husband built me out of a huge fallen oak from our property, and the sadness as we watched it slowly get eaten up by boring beetles.
- The countless wonders I have seen by looking up at trees; the peaceful murmurs I have heard as wind rustles their leaves; the sensory pleasures of bark and fragrance and falling leaves
- The time that my husband gave an oak sapling as a baby gift, with a handwritten note that said “For his first tree house”.
Last year I met a man named Tom. He had curly black hair and a joyful smile, and I warmed to his pleasant, natural personality almost immediately. But it wasn't until he came to my house and brought me a gift that my heart opened it's doors to him and welcomed him inside.So today, on Arbor Day, I hope that you will take some time to think about trees and some of the important memories that they have helped to create in your life. And whether you decide to go out and hug one, plant one or write about one, I hope that, in your own way, you will celebrate them.
"It's an oak tree," he said, handing me a slightly rusting tin can with a 9" plant sprouting healthily out of the strong, black soil. "I grew it from an acorn and I want you to have it."
I don't know how he knew about my love of plants or that I would like that more than the roses that most first dates would bring. But somehow he knew. And somehow, seeing that nurturing side of him on our first date made all the difference in the world.