by Carla Stockton
You can’t imagine how I am, in the vernacular of my forebears, kvelling. Brimming with joy. My granddaughter is singing to me, “I have a friend. I have a friend. I’m a kid. He is a tree. We grow. We grow. It’s tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tuuuu b’shevat!” She’s 3, and the song is in absolute earnest, at the top of her small voice, with joy and celebration. “I have a friend. I have a friend… . .”
It makes me think how grateful I am for trees. I remember my uncle visiting me in Connecticut after he moved from Queens to Arizona. As soon as it was light on the first day of his stay, he awoke glowering. “Wha’s th’matter, Uncle Fred?” I queried. “Too many trees.” He growled. “I can’t see the sky.”
Then I remembered. That’s what I hated most about Arizona when I lived there in exile lo those 13 years. The open sky, the absence of the enveloping arms of the verdant forest that shielded me from – from what? From the desolation of too much open space! Having grown up in the Adirondacks, where even acid rain hasn’t managed yet to denude the forest, how could I not crave the omin-presence of abundant vegetation?
In elementary school, we learned that once they made paper out of papyrus. Grass, right? I thought that was very cool. They should have kept doing that. I was very upset to learn that in our time trees were sacrificed to create paper. I used to argue with my teachers that they shouldn’t make us do homework so we could save trees, and that was way before recycling. They didn’t buy it.
So maybe that’s why I love this online publishing game. The way I love being a vegetarian. I’m really doing a good thing while not going anything I wouldn’t already want to be doing. In this case, I’m saving trees, promoting longevity for my friends, the ones with whom I grew, whose shade I’ll always crave.
A moment of silent meditation please. Remember what you love most about trees, and then sing with us.
“I have a friend. I have a friend. I am a kid. He is a tree. We grow. We grow. It’s tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tuuu b’shevat!”
Happy birthday, trees. We love you.