I don’t like to leave my house. In fact, there are weeks when I realize I haven’t stepped outside in days. Despite my proclivity for staying indoors, I know getting fresh air is good for me (shocker!); I’ve even started to crave it. The pandemic has amplified my newfound desire for nature. With my entire family home juggling school, work and everything in between, my house is no longer the cozy haven of alone time it once was. If I want a few minutes of solitude, I’m forced to take a walk. I used to find walks to be an annoyance (I feel similarly about taking naps) — they distract me from precious work time. But working at any free moment, being stuck inside at all hours, never getting out of my pajamas — these habits don’t positively affect my work. So why was I holding onto them so tightly? It was time to put my basic needs first.
This revelation isn’t profound, but sometimes the simplest discoveries are the hardest to find. My obsession with productivity had blinded me. What’s struck me most from these outdoor excursions is my growing connection to neighboring trees. For years, I’ve been emotionally attached to a massive crepe myrtle tree that blooms during the summer outside my kids’ bedroom — its neon pink flowers fill the entire window in their glory. More recently, I’ve become attached to the massive redwood trees where a graceful hawk likes to perch, searching for prey; the determined fig tree that pushes its way through our fence, finding any gap to stick its twirly branches through; the tall cypress trees that sway in the wind while slowly being enveloped by greedy wisteria. These trees have become like friends, a source of comfort in this crazy time. Every day I visit them and look for something to examine and explore, and they always have something to offer. I’m working on ways to reciprocate.
This last “Listen List” of the year is dedicated to my love of trees.
A fascinating listen about Canadian Ecologist Suzanne Simard’s controversial studies and findings about the way trees communicate. Instead of the Darwinian notion of competition and survival of the fittest, this is all about teamwork.
I technically can’t recommend this since I’ve not actually listened to it, but Samantha recently finished the paperback and loved it. She highly recommends it but says it left her angry and emotional.
I’m halfway through this book, and it’s blown me away. There are so many wonders about trees that I was completely unaware of. It’s a good listen for when you’re doing housework and need something to distract you, but doesn’t require you to be totally tapped in at all moments.
This song is so dreamy. It always puts me in a good headspace (much like trees do).
Playing Chet Baker while we cook dinner, watching our kids play and dance around is a delight that my husband and I cherish.
Peter, Paul and Mary bring me right back to childhood, singing their songs around the campfire. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy. We have a big Meyer lemon tree in our backyard, and every winter, it gives us so many lemons we have to give most of them away. It’s amazing!
Oh, this sweet song! My kids and I love to sing it before bed.
“Bend, little willow
Wind’s going to blow you hard and cold tonight
Life, as it happens
Nobody warns you, willow, hold on tight”