I love trees; perhaps mostly for their perseverance. I've seen them growing out of seemingly solid blocks of rock along the eastern Appalachians; clinging to mountain pinnacles high in the Sierras of California, stunted by wind and weather, yet living. In the deep, dark forests of Northern Maine small pines grew like blades of grass under the shadow of their forebears. Most can not survive the competition for sun and space, yet they make the effort because they're trees.
I have made my bed at night, under the thick intertwining branches of pines. I know that if a storm comes, the pines will provide the best protection as they shed rain off their densely packed needles and layers of branches.
It was probably 10 years ago I came here and found that cottonwood struggling. It was small then (cottonwoods grow fast), and overshadowed by a dense growth of autumn olive bushes. The little tree reached out at an angle, around the bushes, wanting more of the sunlight. I cut the brush and dug out the extensive network of roots to give the tree its freedom. It rewards us today with its beauty. You might notice in the photo, near the bottom where the trunk curves somewhat. That's the reach around the autumn olive 10 years back.
I've planted trees on this 3 acres of home, and will continue to do so long as I am able, for their represent to me a continuity of the land, and we are the land.
If I could only be a tree.