Tree huggers, get ready to celebrate! Arbor Day falls on April 26 this year, and Earth Day makes for an appropriate preparation day. I protest some labels applied to me, but I am quick to admit that the label of “Tree Hugger” fits. How could you grow up in Northeast Mississippi in spitting distance of cedars, oaks, sweet gums, pines, bodocks, mulberrys, pecans, and all the rest of an endless list and not love a tree?
A ring of trees surrounding my yard strongly influenced my house-buying decision almost eighteen years ago, but there can’t be too many trees. When I got an offer from the Arbor Day Foundation for ten trees ready to plant for a small contribution, I bit. In a couple of weeks, my “trees” came in the mail, looking more like ten sticks. Undeterred, I looked at the tags to see the kind of tree each stick might become and placed them in appropriate places in the yard. If they actually grew, I expected the redbud to be the one I would most want to see and put it in line to view out the living room window.
That was fifteen years ago, and the unexpected has happened. That stick grew and spread into a lovely tree with many branches. Bright pink in the spring, furnishing nectar for bees that swarm toward it, the leaves turn it green soon thereafter, just in time for a couple of boys who have found its branches just right for climbing up and jumping down.
This Friday, April 26, will be Arbor Day again. I don’t need more trees with the power company engaging in arguments with me about needing to cut down some of my favorites. (So far, I’m winning these arguments, but don’t mention that I have gloated.) However, I’m appreciative enough to send the Arbor Day folks a small contribution. You might do the same and accept their offer of trees (AKA sticks). Before you know it, you’ll have a tree to hug!