When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

~ Mary Oliver ~

This mighty pine is in our backyard (as well as the two trees below).

Did you know that when people carve their names on trees, there is a name for it? Arborglyphs “are carvings on trees that record names, dates, images, even poetry and prose. Beech, birch and aspen have traditionally been the trees of choice, preferred by most “artists”. These species’ smooth bark and light color makes a ready-made canvas for carving. Some consider arborglyphs to be a legitimate form of artistic expression and honor trees with these carvings. Others think it is just so much grafitti and another form of tree defacement.

Whether you agree or disagree that an arborglyph is a tree trashing or a treasure trove, there is a budding science devoted to the study of the oldest of these tree carvings. Historians now study tree carvings to gain better historical, cultural, and ethnic insight into North America’s past. Nearly every early culture, starting with the American Indian, has produced arborglyphs and many if not most have disappeared.”

This well-carved, mammoth tree, is at Scottsdale Civic Center.

My cousin and her husband, as a lovely wedding gift for us (along with the pretty tree-etched dish below), donated a tree in our name with the Arbor Day Foundation. “Our National Forests are in desperate need of replanting because of recent unprecedented fires.” We, unfortunately, in Arizona have unprecedented fires this summer, most notably the Wallow fire, the largest in AZ history. Although it began on May 29 (caused by humans), it is still burning now, almost a month later, 538,043 acres destroyed, with 77% containment. To see a map of the fire’s destruction and the devastation it has caused (up to June 20th), you can click here.

Going to the woods is going home. ~John Muir


6 thoughts on “Trees

  1. I love trees too. I one who isn’t much in favor of arborglyphs, although I have read that there were “message” trees used by the Indians centuries ago, and have seen several in this region that I suspect may have been used that way.

    I have followed the news of the Arizona fires with much sadness, having frequented those areas in the past. I saw some photos of the Hereford area on another blog and that was touching: we have a friend who used to live there and she still has friends who do and who were affected by that fire.


  2. This series is a fine tribute to the value and place of trees in our lives. We do notice them too little and seem to take them for granted. Fine post and I learned a new name for tree carvers!


  3. Beautiful trees, I love your photo at the top particularly. We live in an area where there is a forest about a quarter or half mile from our house (up a hill) and I often dread that catching fire, though it would be unlikely to do the same sort of damage as you’ve got there as there are areas without trees too… very variable types of land here. I don’t understand the mentality of people who start fires – why the hell do they do it? Fun? And all the tragedy that follows in its wake. 😦

    I’ve mixed feelings on arborglyphs. There was a tree in the neighbour’s garden (yard) where I grew up that had some words carved into it, and I’m sure that insects and time itself do similar damage to a tree, but I do think it’s wise for these people to remember that they are carving into a living thing.


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