“Only caring individuals can restore the places we inhabit. The ‘simple act of planting a tree’ not only restores the places we live, but makes us whole and powerful again.”– Paul Hawken, Smith and Hawken
Queen Bee Becky of BBB Seed and I were talking the other day about how many fruit trees we’ve planted in our somewhat nomadic lives and how we never seem to live in the same place long enough to enjoy the fruit. And yet we compulsively continue to plant trees!
Planting a tree is an outrageous act of belief in the future, of belief in our connectedness to nature and to people not even born yet who will one day sit in the shade of our tree or enjoy its fruit. And trees are the joyous gift we receive from people who died before we were born but who loved us and our world enough that they planted the trees that now tower high in the air.
A favorite saying of mine is that “Hope Springs Eternal.” And for me, Spring always brings great hope. Some people delight at the first robin as a sign of Spring. My beekeeping friends yearn for the first dandelion because it is one of the first sources of food for bees. But me, my heart jumps when I see the first dormant trees for sale. This year my first experience was at Costco where each year they have magnificent bare-root fruit trees for less than $15. I stand in awe in front of the display and text all my gardening friends that the Costco trees are here! On my way home on the highway, I see the trees at the Garden Centers have arrived. I quickly take the exit to get up close to these trees in 2 gallon pots (i.e. I can lift them and move in my car). The trees I suspect are a bit befuddled after growing up in Oregon, finding themselves in a concrete parking lot in Colorado, but with some careful planting will thrive in their new homes.
Each year, even though it’s a bit absurd since I rent or sometimes live in the city without a yard, I plant three trees. I pick a place where they are likely to thrive even if they don’t have man-made irrigation, because I’m planting for a future that may have water insecurities. Some years to make it easy on me, I give the trees as a housewarming gift to a friend with a new house and they have to dig the hole. I just keep planting, knowing that children whose parents haven’t even met yet will play under those trees. And hungry strangers will snag the fruit. Hope for the earth and hope for people springs eternal under trees. Do it for Arbor Day or Earth Day or just because there’s a really good sale! Plant a tree.
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”