Are you one of those lucky people that has a special tree in their lives? If you are one of them you know what I am talking about… It is a tree that other than just giving fruits gives extra meaning or comfort to you.
It is that tree you always come back to and is the constant background in your life.
For some such trees may give simply shade on a hot day, or show their beauty with colorful flowers in summer.
I am lucky to have a few of such trees in my life…
The first of such a tree was the pear tree on my grandfather’s farm. It was a huge tree and on its branches, my grandfather placed swings for the enjoyment of his grandchildren.
When the fruits ripened we would eat steamed or cooked pears with the whole family. Sadly the tree was cut down when a new house was built on the farm.
Another tree I have fond memories of is the peach/sakura tree in my parent’s garden. Tho it is not as big as the pear tree, it is still alive today.
I remember my and my mother bought the tree and planted it together in memory of the friend of my mom who died from cancer. This was the first tree I have ever planted and I have seen it grow up from a small nursery bought tree to the large peach tree that is today dominating the garden. In spring the tree blossoms and white flowers are a beautiful sight to see and the buzzing of thousands of bees can be heard delighting themselves on the nectar. Even during the darkness of the night the white blossoms seemingly glow in the dark like the aura of an angel or a white cloud. My father has planted white roses next to the tree and after many years the roses grew so big that they crawled up the tree so that throughout summer and in early autumn the tree was still filled with white flowers from the rose. Next to the peach tree, there is a hazelnut tree which was the second tree I planted with my mother. I also saw it grow up as a small baby tree and now it is almost as big as the peach tree and their canopies are fighting for each other’s space. Every year I enjoyed gathering the fallen hazelnuts, crushing them with a hammer or rock, and then snacking on them.
The last special tree of my childhood was a giant pine tree on the playground near my house, as you can see in the picture. This playground was a field of grass with oak, maple, and pine trees growing on it. The kids in the area used the trees as goalposts for playing soccer because 2 pairs of trees were on each opposite side of the field with just enough space in between them for a goalkeeper to stand in the middle. The 3 pine trees that were growing there did not grow straight up, but kind of spiraled and bent upwards. All the lower branches of the tree were very big and long so it was very easy to climb up all the way to the top. The 3 trees were growing in such a way that the 1st tree was the easiest to climb, the 2nd tree moderately, and the 3rd was the hardest because the 3rd one grew up more straight and had thinner and shorter lower branches.
I have spent many hours climbing and hanging around in the trees with my friends. The 1st one was favored by everyone because it was easy to lounge and sit around in it.
Sometimes when a kid managed to climb all the way to the top he or she was able to get the pine cones and threw them down to the kids below like grenades and in turn, the children on the ground would pick them and throw them back to the one in the top.
Altho the trees are still alive today, it was a sad moment when the government cut off every lower branch so that they became impossible and very dangerous to climb. Since that day no child has ever climbed in the trees again and the days of laughing, daring, and courageous children were over. It is most likely that the government cut down the lower branches out of fear that children would fall from the tree. Yet as far as I can remember there has never been an accident of somebody falling from a tree and nobody ever got hurt.
Now that I am older and am managing Jihatsu Eco Farm in the Philippines with my wife I am again making new connections with special trees. The great mango tree on the side of the land and closest to the house has helped us a lot. While the house was being built we lounged under the shade of the tree. It was the only place in the land where there was any shade because not a single other tree stood on the land. When the construction workers took a break they too ate their lunch under the thick canopy of this mango tree.
Being under the tree one immediately feels a cooler climate and it is one of the most peaceful places on the whole farm. It is very nice to sit there or take a nap while listening to the birds chirping above in the branches of the tree. Our manual water pump is also under the tree, and if it was not for this tree pumping up the water in the full sun would have been a horrible thing to do, but thanks to the cool relaxing shade of the tree it becomes much more easy and pleasant.
Finally, there is another tree in front of our house. My wife and I planted it in honor of the death of our 10-year-old dog. It is a chico / Sapote (Manilkara zapota tree. The tree now is only 1 meter high and not of much significance, but I am hoping that in the years to come it will grow big and form a connection with us.
What trees are special to you? I would love to hear the stories about the trees you have a special connection with.