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Throughout cultures of the world, trees have been revered, adored, and even worshiped, providing food, medicine, fuel, and relief from the hot sun. The "tree of life," according to the book of Genesis, even produced fruit that when eaten would enable humans to "live forever!" No wonder we enjoy their presence so much. We are intricately and intimately related to these magnificent plants in many ways!
As children, my friends and I climbed nearly every tree we could find, often spending lazy days relaxing in forks high among the branches of an oak in my family's backyard.
Now that I'm older, I still often dream of moving nimbly about in great, large trees that seem to climb endlessly into the sky, and always awaken afterward feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
It is sad that in today's world of ever expanding urban and suburban neighborhoods, houses and apartments are grouped so closely together that there is little room allowed to large trees for future generations of children to climb and explore.
Recently a book entitled, "Last Child in the Woods," presented the premise that many urban children today suffer both physical and emotional disabilities due to lack of contact with the natural world. "Nature Deficit Disorder," is the name given to describe a number of behavioral dysfunctions exhibited by children, and later adults, who have never had the chance to experience a strong connection with nature. Millions of years living as part of the earth, hunting, gathering, and more recently, farming, has conditioned human beings to need earthy things; to see, hear, smell, touch and taste all that nature has to offer.
In a tree, one can see and hear colorful birds singing as they flit and flutter among the branches, smell air sweetened by leaves and flowers, feel cool, refreshing breezes, and taste life in a way that restores the soul.
This giant, old maple growing on the banks of Lake Champlain in Grand Isle, Vermont has probably witnessed more than 300 summers, standing on this spot while the Green Mountain Boys were fighting the British! It seemed fitting to give it a large space on this page!
How many trees have you climbed?