As a child I climbed the trees near my Hudson Valley home barefoot and half-naked. My favorites to clamber up were the evergreens, especially pines, which grew tallest in the second-growth forest that surrounded my home. I would hold on tight, as high up as I could climb and sway with the tree. Above the deciduous treetops there was almost always a breeze. When asked why I liked to climb so high, I recall explaining, “to see what I can see.” Sticky-sap stuck in between my fingers for days, bringing back an almost-instant memory of that week’s exploits.
I’ve always felt attached to trees, watching in fascination (and later teaching kids as an ecology instructor) about how a rotting tree is home to all kinds of creatures; even (and especially) in death, trees perpetuate the cycle of life, a good reminder to us all when we think of our ‘purpose in life’. Being considered a treehugger has never been insulting to me; I’ve hugged many a tree in my time, rough bark against my cheek, the particular scent of a Maple or Birch evident to my knowledgeable sniff-everything nose. Trees are my conduit to the Earth and the sky, to water and wind, and a reminder that real beauty lies in change, not stais: Brilliant leaves fall and branches stretch into the air, then lie bare to the winter winds, then grow anew the next Spring, budding with recreated green life.
Hence my appreciation for the Treespirit Project, which pairs the human form with that of various trees in a visual representation of the symbiotic relationship between people and trees. Or perhaps it’s not symbiosis; trees would do just fine without us. Without trees, however, we would not do so well.
To share my love of trees and nature in community gatherings to create TreeSpirit photographs, intending for both the experiences and the photographs to encourage and inspire others to feel and express their own unique connection to nature.
To raise money for existing nonprofit environmental organizations that value and promote tree planting and protect green space within and outside our cities.