Trees

Joyce Kilmer once said, “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree”.  Later he confessed that he’d also never seen “a bush lovely as a limerick” nor had he seen his wife since she’d left the previous week to get a pack of cigarettes at the corner store.  But, it was trees that he was most obsessed with (which might account for his wife’s disappearance).  Kilmer was the kind of a man who could look at trees all day…and who couldn’t?  Looking at trees combines the skill of observing with the fun of looking at things.  I can watch trees for hours.

I don’t watch them because I find them beautiful, however.  I watch them because I, as many others, was told as a child that trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen.  I wanna see it HAPPEN!  But, no matter how long I watch, trees just don’t breathe.  They just stand there in a vegetative state.  I’m sure that, after I give up and walk out of earshot, the tree that I was looking at takes a deep gasping breath and remarks to the tree next to him, “I thought that asshole would NEVER leave!”  If this is true, then I’m sure that it is possible to stare at a tree until it passes out from lack of carbon dioxide.

So, what are lumberjacks for if ANYONE can fell a tree just by staring at it long enough?  Years ago, the position of lumberjack was created to keep all the gay musclemen in one area; however, at present we can do the same thing with Gold’s Gym.  Personally, I think that cutting down trees rather than letting them fall over due to lack of carbon dioxide is another indication of just how impatient we are as a species.  It’s like a parent, instead of waiting for his child to go to sleep, going into her room and putting a pillow over her face until she passes out.  Aw, she’ll sleep tonight…

I can kind of understand our hostility towards trees.  As vegetation goes, trees are pretty selfish.  Potato and peanut plants give their all, but trees only provide us with fruit that was going to fall of off them anyway.  And they only give us THAT in the hopes that we’ll accidentally swallow a seed and defecate it into the woods somewhere.  Who does the tree look out for?  The tree looks out for the tree…

On the other hand, if there were no trees, we’d often be the highest things around and a sitting duck for lightning.  Trees take the majority of lightning strikes, often at the cost of their own lives.  People are seldom impressed by this, however.  They’d be much more impressed if trees could push toddlers from the paths of speeding vehicles.  Their attitude when a tree gets struck by lightning?  You weren’t doing anything anyway

Which is not true.  Trees don’t do anything INTERESTING.  They keep dirt where it is and keep wind away.  They (supposedly) provide us with oxygen.  There is nothing dynamic about a tree; and, those rare occasions where they DO make sudden moves are, for the most part, unintentional and fatal.  The only way that trees move is by growing or falling over.  Neither counts as moving ‘cause no one counts it as moving when we do it…

The oldest trees in the world are the bristlecone pines.  When their ages were discovered, scientists stated that some of them had been around since the time of Christ.  I think that a lot of people are resentful ‘cause none of these trees attempted to interfere with the crucifixion in any way.  To those people, I have to pose the following question:  What would YOU have done?  The Roman army was well trained and highly motivated; the indigenous population had turned against Christ as well.  You would’ve been on your own in Jeruselum; and, as a tree native to California, you would’ve stuck out like a sore thumb…

The largest tree is the redwood.  The height of a redwood can be as great as the length of a football field; moreover, the redwood is much steeper than a football field and has far fewer chalk marks.  They are also indigenous to California.  The wood is of fine quality and there is so much of it that lumber companies cannot wait to fell them; however, the “tree huggers” are discouraging this through protest and grass-roots political action.  “Tree kissers” are trying to thwart logging efforts by getting saliva all over the trees.  There is one more environmental sector that decency forbids my writing about here.

The most useful thing about a tree is the fact that those of us with retractable claws or opposable thumbs can climb them.  They provide sanctuary to primates and house cats.  They are like little cathedrals spread all about the earth just for us and Fluffy.  A bear charges us in the forest, we yell, “Sanctuary!” and run for the nearest tree.  Apparently, though, many bears have been ordained into the Church of the Fleeing Primate and will follow you into the tree’s “apse” and claw you a new one.  Come to think of it, snakes can climb trees as well…actually most animals can climb trees; in fact, if you want to stay out of trouble, stay out of the trees and you’ll probably be okay…

In conclusion:  Trees are our friends.  They provide us with food, wood and shade and protect us from soil erosion, winds and non-tree-climbing animals, such as the rhinocerous.  We don’t give trees the respect that they deserve and that is a pity.  There will come a day when gravity will reverse itself and everything on the surface of the earth will fly into space…except for trees which will be held in place by their roots.  This may not be a consolation to you; in fact, it might even make you a little jealous of trees.  It might even make you wanna extract some sort of petty revenge on the sturdy plants.

If so, you can always stare at them until they fall down…

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